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Tag Archive: Batman #1


Ten weeks ago I posted my list of what I intended to buy from the DC Comics New 52.  To recap, they were:

Then through browsing the racks at the store, I added the following, based on something I saw in the title or a page-turn, or in the case of Animal Man, a good review:

Based solely on what I read in Issue #1 of each, I decided to not go forward with the following titles:

I reviewed Action Comics #1 here.  Just not the Superman I was interested in reading about, I guess.  (All other DC Comics titles I have reviewed here include links in comic title names in this article).

Green Lantern #1 was spent exclusively on Sinestro, not Hal Jordan, and because I wasn’t interested in an ongoing Sinestro book, I gave up on buying Issue #2, which he also appears to be featured in.

Voodoo #1 was so thin in plot and long on shock factor that it made the bottom of the list of all that I read over the past three months.  Not my cup of tea.

Supergirl #1 wasn’t bad.  But I couldn’t help comparing it to Michael Turner’s and Jeph Loeb’s Supergirl from the Superman/Batman series and this just didn’t compare.

Birds of Prey was a series I read in about 5-10 issue arcs over several years.  This isn’t the same team, and it’s not worse because there is no Oracle, it is just not the same sensibility.  I prefer the more mature, aka women heroine vs. girl heroine Birds of Prey group of the past, and I don’t like at all where the current Black Canary is, they should get her back in the Green Arrow title.  I think the characters are drawn almost like teenagers, as if this should be a companion to the Teen Titans.  That would make more sense.  So I left this title behind after Issue #1, too.

I decided to go forward and read Issue #2 of the following titles, however, just to give them another shot (I plan to review each Issue #2 at a later date):

So this is how five titles were cut from my pull-list.  The big winners?  I have eight titles I hope to be reading for a long time:

I will also keep buying Green Arrow in hopes that it will improve, and Jim Lee’s Justice League since it seems to glue a lot of the other stories together.

Frankly, eight is about the right number I wanted to end up with, especially at current comic book prices.  I also will keep reading til the end of the short series, Huntress.  And as I get into more Marvel Comics I will be adding at least one book from that publisher to the ongoing read pile, in addition to independent publisher books Bionic Man and Rachel Rising.

So was the first round of the New 52 successful?  Ultimately most of what I read was worth reading, so I’d answer a definite “yes“.  I read 21 of the 52 titles, more than I planned to read.  The biggest surprise?  How much I liked All-Star Western #1 and its mix of old Gotham City and Jonah Hex.  Captain Atom and Justice League Dark were the two books I was most curious about, and they both delivered in a big way stellar stories and art about more minor DC Comics characters that I now can’t wait to read more about.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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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.

Review by C.J. Bunce

In the DC Comics New 52 readers are not told in the issues themselves how the new series are supposed to relate to one another.   Action Comics #1, which will be reviewed here at a later date, does include “continued in” references at the back of the first issue pointing readers to the continuation of the story in other issues.  With all the Batman books, a fair question is “which one is for me?  Comparing Detective Comics #1 with Batman #1, this reader would choose the Batman series as an ongoing read.

Detective Comics was dark and disturbing.  Batman is dark, but in a less gruesome way.  That said, the story takes place in Gotham City (they haven’t changed that about Batman) and we see one gruesome death with a victim stuck with dozens of knives.  Skillfully told at the beginning of Batman #1, we are reminded in a speech by Bruce Wayne given at a solicitation for investors, that Gotham is “damned,” “cursed,” and “hopeless.”  Ultimately Gotham is Batman.  Bleak comes with the territory.

But good Batman stories also have some surprises and Batman #1 has a fair number.  We see a nostalgic team-up Batman and the original Robin and briefly-Batman-replacement, Dick Grayson (who has his own title as Nightwing).  The story includes a great moment with all the boys and men who have been Robin standing alongside Bruce in Wayne Manor and you could foresee an interesting story that could develop later involving all these wards (and one son) of Bruce Wayne.  If you aren’t keeping track, that’s Dick Grayson, Tim Drake (now Red Robin), and son Damian Wayne, the current Robin.  Recall that the second Robin, Jason Todd, was killed in the Batman series A Death in the Family story arc, but has been brought back in different incarnations and last we saw him he was in jail in Gotham.

The new Batman crams its first issue with false facts, fake clues, Wayne Manor, a jail break and cameo of almost all of the Arkham Asylum villains, a Batman/Joker team-up (!), Alfred, and the Batcave, complete with vintage Batmobiles.  We have mystery, a set up for future issues, and layering of dialogue with action.  We don’t have the inner thoughts of Batman here, something we did find in Detective Comics #1, which makes me think that is part of the distinction between the series.

Along with a good opening story by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo’s  art fits well, the locations are familiar, and the colors all scream Gotham.   In fact if you pulled out the text the artwork alone could carry the story from beginning to end.  About the only thing I didn’t care for was the weak title logo on the cover.

For first-time readers we get a good story that covers all bases and seems to borrow a lot from the Michael Keaton Batman movie, with some nods to the most recent Dark Knight film.  “Why so serious?”

With all the Batman books coming, and no indication why we should read one over the other, this #1 was a nice surprise.