Review by C.J. Bunce
If we didn’t have Batman #1 and Detective Comics #1, there would be a fair amount to rave about with Batman: Dark Knight #1, another DC Comics “New 52” title, written by Paul Jenkins with pencils by David Finch (interestingly the artist on this book has top cover billing over the writer, which I don’t recall seeing before).
First of all, the art is great and the Batman narration is as good as the other two main Bat-titles. Note: I won’t be buying or reviewing a fourth title, Batman and Robin, since Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin series may have forever scarred me and averted me from a title focused only on that duo.
Here, Batman is again on his way to foil a breakout at Arkham Asylum. But wait a second, isn’t that the plot of Batman #1? Didn’t these writers coordinate that kind of glaring oddity? It could have been useful and interesting had they shown two sides of the same event, but the writer shows us no indication here of that happening.
A new twist is an internal affairs detective who is pretty savvy to Bruce Wayne’s support of Batman, including getting too close for comfort to a likely background relationship between Bruce and Commissioner Gordon.
Despite some nice splash pages, good inks by Richard Friend and good color work by Alex Sinclair, this issue does not offer anything not available in another title. It begs the question: Why not just give readers a weekly Batman comic that fuses 2-4 of these series together? Soon we will be seeing more story elements tripping over each other, such as the fact that a presumably new “love interest” is introduced here (Jai Hudson) and yet we see Batman “linked up” with Catwoman Selina Kyle in the Catwoman series. Continuity is just lost out the window.
If you have to pick just one Batman title to go forward with, you’ll be hard pressed to keep this as your keeper of the bunch. For me, Batman is the series I plan to follow going forward. Keep in mind that Batman is the busiest guy in the DCU right now, also appearing in Justice League, Catwoman, Batwoman. Not to mention other Bat-zines like Batwing and cameos in every other book. Can you have too much of a good thing? I think we’re going to find out.
Here is some nice pencil work by Finch:
Ultimately Dark Knight may be one of the victims of trying something as ambitious as releasing 52 new series at once. It makes you wonder if the writers and artists realize how much they really are competing against each other for consumers’ dollars. It is unfortunate because even having a nice piece of work such as this result may not keep you in the running when you’re in the leagues with other equally good creators.