Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Batman #1 Review

Dead Alive

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.



  1. I liked this issue it was fun but i just kept thinking damnit dont you have a batplane to help with these kinds of things and that thought made me feel everything was just a setup for the end agian still had fun..and about Gordon a jet was about to crash in the middle of the city thats about the right time to yell lol

    1. that's all he does! Maybe it's because we never see him doing anything else but yelling to Batman that bothered me. He's the GCPD Commissioner - act like it!!!

    2. Oh, and Jim, loved the podcast this week. If my disagreeing with your Flash review upset you, that wasn't my intention. I'm a lot like you, I'm an angry, asshole of a little man :) LOL. But seriously, I think our views were so different because I keep forgetting, the new 52 brought you in, you didn't have the emotional ties to Wally that I did (been reading DC since '78)

    3. it's okay! It makes it fun to prove I'm right :) Really, I love when people have different opinions...but it usually only happens to Eric!

    4. Haha never said you were right...just acknowledging that you were brought in at a low time of DC history :P LOL But to be fair, I actually did like some of the new 52 (swamp thing, I, vampire, Demon Knights, Animal Man, All Star Western to name a few)

  2. Now THIS was much better than the rebirth special. I guess my biggest problem w/ the special was it read like a Scott Snyder issue and I wanted to get King's voice instead of Snyders. I thought this issue felt better in every regard. Looking forward to King's run now.

    1. Now I agree 100% with you. I think King may have differed a bit to Snyder in Rebirth #1...this was just crazy fun!

    2. Absolutely. There was just something about this book. I enjoyed most of Snyders run (except Robo Bunny Bats) but I'm ready for a new voice. The Rebirth special worried me because it felt more of the same, but this loved it. I may actually go and pick up Vision now just to get more and I haven't bought any Marvel in about 5 years, so that says something.

  3. Liked the Gotham people.being super powered didn't expect that ... thought it was just going to be another batman type dude so that's cool.

  4. I LOVED this issue for all of the obvious reasons...

    I'll concede that the set-up was very convenient but it didn't matter when, in the end, it set up such a great issue. THIS did a much better job setting up the REBIRTH status quo than the REBIRTH issue did.

    Mike N: I hear your point about the Batplane but, I think the point was to showcase Batman's ability to think on his feet. There was no time to bring the Batplane out of its hangar.

    Jim: I know that just by disagreeing with you, I'm wrong by default but, I do have to disagree about Finch's art here. I'm not usually a fan of his Batman stuff but he turned in some exceptional work this issue. I don't have it in front of me but there is a splash page with Batman diving that comes to mind as particularly noteworthy.

    All in all it's my favorite BATMAN in quite awhile.

  5. What a great start for the new Batman book and I'm not really a Batman fan. But I like this Batman!! Who is this new power couple??

  6. Am I the only one who was taken aback by the multiple times Bruce told Alfred to call Clark? I half expected him to respond, "I'm sorry, sir, would you like me to contact this new Superman that you somehow understand is also Clark Kent but from a different timeline, or are you asking me to call your friend who will be of no use to us whatsoever as he is fucking dead? You were there when it happened, remember?".