Monday, September 26, 2011

Exfanding Review: Batman, Issue 1

DC's New 52 relaunch has pretty much dominated the comics press over the course of its first three weeks. And rightfully so, as the relaunch marks a major shift in DC's publishing paradigm.

I've bought into the whole affair, literally, as I've purchased nearly every one of the new number one issues.

As these things go, you can't expect everything to be to your liking, but overall I've been very impressed with the new books. Sure, there have been a couple of clunkers, but that's standard fare during any comic book week.

Since its announcement earlier this year, I've always felt the benchmark moment of this relaunch would be the main Batman book. For the line to work, the main Batman book needs to work. Despite Superman being the first DC superhero, Batman has always been the character that the mainstream flocks to.

Just look what The Dark Knight did for DC in terms of elevating their position in the film industry. Everyone loves Batman; everyone loves Batman's villains. (Everyone, that is, except Nathaniel.) People who never read a Batman book rushed into theaters to see the hottest movie of that year.

And a new number one issue featuring the world's most popular superhero?

That's exactly the book that needs to be well written, accessible to first-time (or first time in a long time) readers, and in an art style that will appease both longtime fans and newbies to the Bat.

Well, last Wednesday we finally got the chance to see what the new Batman looks like, and in my opinion, at least, it was a near-perfect New 52 title. Writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo definitely delivered the goods, and did right by Bruce Wayne.

They've given readers--old and new--an accessible, back to the basics Batman book that features actual detective work, an appearance by nearly all of Batman's rogues, cool new tech for the Dark Knight to play with, and a cliffhanger ending that left me wishing for a time machine.

You know, so I could fast forward to next month to buy issue two. But you knew what I was saying.

Capullo's art is a perfect fit for Batman, and for Gotham. Dark and gritty, Capullo's line feels both classic and fresh and his storytelling is easy to follow. I especially like his depictions of Commissioner Gordon and The Joker.

In just 20-odd pages, we get an attempted breakout at Arkham Asylum featuring a new villain or two, a new direction for Wayne Industries and Gotham City, an introduction to all three Robins, some great police work by Gordon and Harvey Bullock, and one big, honking mystery that's to be continued.

Batman's back and forth with both Gordon and Bullock was especially well written, and even a one-page-too-long monologue by Bruce Wayne introduced some cool new stuff into the Bat world.

As a longtime (and fairly fanatic) Batman fan, this book scratched all the right itches, and I am definitely on board for the long run.

This book flew off the shelves in my area, and in both stores that I frequent, it sold out before noon. With a creative team like this, and with a home run story like this, I wouldn't be surprised if this book continues to sell out through its first arc.

1 comment:

Flashman85 said...

Oh, sure, you find one Batman movie I'm not so keen on and all of a sudden I hate Batman. I see your game.

I've intentionally avoided any comics that aren't already collected in trades, but now you've got me interested in checking out this first issue, even if I don't get to reading the rest for another few...evers.