Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight #1 Review

Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Viktor Bogdanovic
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: February 24, 2015

On the Night Shift

Rocksteady's Arkham franchise are not only my favorite Batman games ever, but some of my favorite games in general.  If you haven't played them yet, stop reading this right now and get to it. You will thank me later and I will envy you for getting to experience it fresh and new.  Done?  Good. Now that we are all up to speed, this comic is the prequel to the upcoming Arkham Knight game.  I can't wait for the game, but is the comic any good?  Let's find out.

The issue opens up at the end of Arkham City and follows both Batman and Joker.  Batman leaves for home while the Joker heads for the morgue.  I'll admit that I wasn't expecting this beginning, but for fans of the game, it was awesome.  Of course, Peter J. Tomasi makes it easy to follow for those who haven't played the games, but it's on another level if you have.  It's also quickly obvious that the rest of the issue (and series?) will follow suit.

On the way back home, Batman runs into a protege of one of the franchises coolest villains. Unfortunately, the battle here is far less epic, but hopefully  it's a promise for more coolness in the future.  It also leads directly to the introduction of the Arkham Knight.  I know I have been debating with Eric who this villain is and after seeing him in action...I'm still not sure.  I know two things, though, he's badass and Batman is in for a world of trouble.  I am now overly excited for the game.

I know that this is a Batman story, but the real star in this issue is Alfred.  His interaction with Batman is so great and really reminds you what our hero went through during Arkham City.  As Alfred begs him to retire from his night job, you can only guess at the pain that's about to rain down on him.

Then there is the Joker.  After the end of Arkham City, I figured we were done seeing him, but I guess I was wrong.  I'm also a little upset.  What we get here feels a tad bit forced and overly predictable.  Why bring him back in at all when he had such a great ending in Arkham City. This was the only thing that I really didn't like about this issue.

Peter J. Tomasi does a great job setting up this series.  His experience writing Bat characters comes through loud and clear and this issue sets the tone for the issues to come.  The digital first books based on games  have been hit (Injustice) and miss (Infinite Crisis)...after one issue I think I'm ready to put this in the hit category.

I don't know where DC found Viktor Bogdanovic, but I'm glad they did.  The art in this book is outstanding and anybody who is a fan of Greg Capullo's work on Batman will feel right at home. Often times, the digital books skimp on the art a bit, but that's not the case here at all.  In case, the whole art crew of Bogdanovic, Art Thibert, John Rauch and Travis Lanham make this book look better than most of the New 52 offerings.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman: Arkham Knight #1 does exactly what it's supposed to...remind the reader that the game is on it's way and get them pumped to play it.  While it's odd to get anything Joker from the Arkham story at this point, everything else hits all the right notes.  We may only get a brief glimpse at the Arkham Knight himself (herself?), but it's awesome.  This book combines great character interaction with stellar art to bring a  #1 issue that anyone can dive into.  However, veterans of the games will get the most enjoyment so do yourself a favor and play them now!  Highly Recommended.


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