Old Man Bruce
this review is full of SPOILERS. Score at bottom
We open up to see Bruce Wayne competing in the Ferris 6000. Right off the bat it sets up how Bruce wants a good death since retiring from being Batman, but crashing in a race isn't good enough. After that little psycho-analysis of Bruce through conversations with the soon to retire Jim Gordon we get a better analysis of Gotham since he's retired. The series uses News Casts as exposition ranging from wars in other countries to the rising crime rate headed up by the Mutant gang. While I won't go into it a lot during the reviews for the rest of the series, I feel that it really does help flesh out the world Bruce is returning to.
Soon after he awakes after a dream of the day he found the Batcave, and apparently shaves off his moustache while he slept, he watches the news casts and the Mark of Zorro(which was the movie he watched with his parents the night of the mugging) and comes to the realization that Batman has to return...no wait sorry BATMAN tells Bruce he has to return; In this comic, it seems as if Batman and Bruce are two separate identities and that makes the character so much more interesting to me. This is a man who has seen so much pain in his life, both before and after Batman, it would only make sense that the two would split apart into two different personalities.
We then get a montage of Batman's first night back of stopping crimes, which is a phenomenal way to reintroduce Batman back into Gotham artistically. You see nothing, just the shapes of capes, batarangs and fists hidden in the shadows: JUST AS BATMAN SHOULD BE. It was an epic build up until Batman is revealed to take down bank robbers who work for probably the most intriguing villain to come back to: Two-Face.
We learn that Two-Face actually has been fixed both mentally and physically since his last time being a villain, but the moment he was released he instantly covered up his face and reverted back to his old ways...Yup Arkham Asylum does a crap job at rehabilitation, no matter which universe you are in.
After some dark persuading coming in the form of smashing people out windows, Batman learns Harvey planned on holding the entire city ransom, which leads to an epic climax between the two highest towers in Gotham. I have seen many a Batman stunt, but the shot of him falling and with a firing a sniper rifle sized Batclaw to catch Two-Faces helicopter is amazing.
In the end, he defeats Two-Face and sends the bomb out of the city just in time for it to go. With Batman's return the Mutants prepare to declare war on Batman, a certain teen is awe struck by Batman...and a certain Green Haired Arkham patient awakes from a coma....yup shiz is gonna get real in Gotham.
Bits and Pieces:
This story is amazing, but a HUGE info dump. The only reason why this review is this length is I had to cut quite a lot of world building exposition from it. The art works to build the dark tone the story is setting up and makes it stand out from other stories. I highly recommend this first issue and I'll see you next week for the second.