Written by: Tom King
Art by: David Finch, Matt Banning, Jordie Bellaire and John Workman
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: June 15, 2015
This is the moment I have been waiting for. After setting the tone in Batman: Rebirth, Tom King is on his own and ready to show us what he's got. It's funny, because if you asked me a day ago, "What do you want from Batman?" I probably would have stammered and said, "Umm...something fun...maybe...and action packed..." You get the point...I have no idea what I want from this book and that's kind of the excitement of it all. It has the new book smell going and I'm open for just about anything. While that attitude got me in trouble during my college days, I hope it serves me well here. Well, does it? Let's find out...
The issue opens inside a commercial airline. approaching Gotham and preparing for landing. We see immediately that there is some sort of trouble in Gotham as the plane flies toward the Bat-signal in the sky. We shift to the rooftop meeting of Jim Gordon and Batman and find out that some surface to air missiles were stolen a week ago...just a a surface to air missile hits the plane.
Okay, that is a pretty crazy opener that sets up the action, but it is a little too convenient and thus, felt pretty forced. Then we get Gordon, who pretty much screams during this issue...screaming into the night. I say that because Batman is a man of action who let's others yell while he gets to business.
In a series of panels, Alfred has filled Batman in on the deets while he repels from the roof into the Batmobile and is off and running. I will tell you right off the bat, the thing that I took away from this issue is that Batman is a total badass boss!
If you are like me, you were waiting to see Duke the minute you started reading this issue. We do get him and here, he is a bit more Oracle than Robin and while I still don't think we are seeing exactly what the "something new" is, I like it. Him and Batman already have an obvious synergy going as Duke knows exactly what Batman is asking for before the reader does...kind of. We all know that Batman is up to something completely crazy (and badass) and yet, it is even crazier and more badass than I would have imagined.
The issue continues with Gordon still screaming and Batman attempting to give the plane a "push". Yea, you can let your imagination go wild there. The whole thing boils down to one thing...Gotham is Batman's city and he's going to save it no matter what the cost, no matter what any naysayers say.
I really don't know if Tom King is showing us that Batman has a bit of a death wish going on, but I do think that he is concerned with dying a good death. Fans just saw him die and come back, but this doesn't feel like someone who thinks he's invincible. It actually feels like the opposite...Batman has made solid plans for when he dies (again) and his talk with Alfred is touching, yet a little cold. It doesn't help that King would be crazier than Batman to kill off his character in the first issue, but damn him, I thought he was going to!
It would probably be a bit of a spoiler to tell you that Batman saves the day. It would also be a lie. It's a shocking cliffhanger (I know it is because even Batman is shocked) that threw me for a loop and made me reevaluate everything I thought this entire first arc was going to about. It's a power issue and I'm wondering if many saw it coming.
I am kind of torn with this issue. I loved it even though parts of it made me roll my eyes. The coincidence that started it all, Gordon screaming like a damn idiot (I hope I'm not the only one who was annoyed by him) and an ending that got a little too sappy would normally be big problems for me, but I was busy hanging off the edge of my seat the whole time to care. The pacing was superb, the ending was shocking and I enjoyed myself the entire time. I am in, big time!
David Finch's art didn't wow me. It's really good and easily does the job and more, but at the end of the issue, I wasn't thinking, "That was some kick ass art!" Maybe I was expecting more since I love Finch's art so much, but this was just good on the David Finch curve of scoring.
Bits and Pieces:
This is an edge of your seat, don't look away, action movie on the page type of issue and my gut tells me that it was great. My stupid brain had a few issues that I can't completely overlook, but boy, I had a lot of fun with this book. I can easily recommend this issue to anyone looking for a good time and the crazy cliffhanger ups the ante going forward and I can't wait to see how it all fits together in two weeks. If this is what Rebirth is about, it's a great time to be a DC Comics fan.