Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Batman's Grave #1 Review

True Detecting

Writer: Warren Ellis
Art Team: Bryan Hitch, Kevin Nowlan, Alex Sinclair
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 8, 2019

Are you dismayed at the treatment of Alfred in the current Batman run?  Well if you need a little Alfred fix to cure your blues, Batman's Grave is out this week, which looks to spotlight the thankless tasks Alfred has taken on all these years after the death of the Wayne's, or will it? So is the latest in a long line of Batman offerings worth adding to the pull list? Let's discuss.

The issue starts with Alfred tending to the gravestone of the Wayne's, as some narration runs over the page regarding the heavy burden he carries with him, and the inevitable ending he stares down each night.  Flash forward to Batman on the rooftops of Gotham stopping a mugging in a nearby alley, very reminiscent of the one he faced as a boy, before rushing off to answer a call the police have been too bogged down to address. So off the bat we get a quick beginning to the title, that sets the stage and setting for our issue, obviously from the hints provided putting it outside of current continuity, with Alfred alive and the city not run by Bane, all 100% fine by me, however it takes up a little too much of our issue without accomplishing a whole lot to get me fully invested off the bat.

As Batman arrives at the scene he questions some of the apartment neighbors who made the call, all before entering the scene of the crime, then carefully accesses the situation, for further study at the Cave.  The one thing that immediately sticks out from our quick glimpses of the victims home here is his obsession with Batman himself, while we're told the apartment was also scrubbed of clues, however, not much else of merit is dished out here as Batman heads back to the cave to assess the situation.

Once home, Bruce has a very familiar but heavy debate with Alfred, regarding his nightly activities over a drink, before heading off to dive into his latest case file. As Batman talks through the events that may have lead to the death of his victim, he stumbles upon a discovery, forcing him to go back to the apartment he initially visited, which appears many hours later.  Once inside, he rips up the floorboards to find what looks to be the victims killer still inside, but we'll have to tune in next month to verify, because even after a couple re-reads I'm still a little clueless regarding everything that happened here, and how it all adds up together.

The art in this issue is great, as Bryan Hitch puts some amazing detail into his work throughout the book.  The city especially looks great, lifelike even at points, even the character work and Batman himself look exceptional.  I relied on what the art was trying to tell me for most of the back half of the issue here, especially because I became pretty confused as to which way this mystery was unfolding, and while I think it helped a lot, like clearing up if the victim and the guy under the boards is the same person, I won't be sure until next issue.

Bits and Pieces:

Overall, Batman's Grave is off to a mysterious start that doesn't provide the reader much detail yet but comes packed to the brim with some great looking art to keep your attention for now.  The Alfred and Bruce/Batman relationship gets some spotlight here as well, however other than these overall snapshot observations, I'm not entirely sure of the start to this series at the moment, and how hooked readers of this will be going forward. In all honesty, in searching for comparison to this, it has a bit of a feel of the True Detective TV show to it at the moment, being so shrouded in mystery. Good, but definitely not great ... yet.


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