Trying Something a Little Different
As the reader turns the page, they are smacked in the face by some kick ass, Mikel Janin awesomeness! Fans of Grayson will just nod their heads in acknowledgement, but those unfamiliar with his work are in for a real treat. I don't know what I like more, the actual art or the panel layout. Okay, it's a tie...I love it all!
Speaking of Calendars, we next learn that this Mr. Day is not your grandfather's Calendar Man. I'm sure some of you have heard the idea of life as the four seasons (not the Four Seasons, mind you), well Julian hasn't just heard of it...he lives it. Not only that, but the process is speeding up and it's affecting Gotham as well. It's an interesting idea but this scene is all about seeing Bruce and Duke working the case together. That's right, Duke is in the Batcave with Batman! I'm getting visions again!
Those visions were squashed very quickly, but replaced with something possibly better...Batman wants to try something new. Damn well he should! After everything that has gone down including the death of Damian and the recent Batman and Robin Eternal, it just wouldn't make sense for Batman to just forget it all and go right back to the well. I really want to know what this "new" thing is, but we only get a look at Duke's cool costume for now.
The issue ends with Batman pushing himself to the limit to stop Calendar Man's plan, but we are left thinking it is only the beginning. From what we find out, we should be calling him Julian (Dooms)Day. It's a twist that really puts him in a more dangerous light on a previously ridiculous villain. It also really nails down the whole "nothing ever ends" idea of Rebirth in a way that feels threatening and natural for this book.
Like the main Rebirth special, this issue is more of a tone setter than anything else. We get Duke and while Batman is trying "something new", it still has that Batman and Robin vibe which I love and want back bad. The only real issue I had was DC's decision to have Scott Snyder co-write the issue. Why? I want a true Rebirth and with Snyder involved, I'm not sure what was Tom King and what was Scott Snyder...and a lot felt like Snyder. Depending on what side of the fence you've been sitting on, that could mean the exact opposite to you than it does to me. Still, I liked what we got and can't wait to see what King does when his actual run starts in a couple of weeks.
I mentioned it above and I will again...Mikel Janin's art kicks ass! It is so good and every page is a pleasure to look at. He gets to play around with some pretty big panels that make the issue fly by and his old Calendar Man may give me nightmares. He reminded me of the old guy in Metallica's Enter Sandman video and that guy still freaks me out!
Bits and Pieces:
This issue gives Batman fans a quick look at what to expect in Rebirth and the tone is more Batman and Robin and less Dark Knight. However, It all felt more like a sneak peak than an actual full issue, but the art was great and the story had enough interesting bits to keep me fully engaged. I do wish that DC would have let Tom King work solo on this one so we know exactly what we'll get from his run because some of it felt a lot like the book we left behind. I liked this issue, but I guess I'll have to wait for the actual run to start to be blown away. I hope that I am blown away!