Batman: Rebirth #1 act’s as a near perfect bridge from Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo’s epic run on the title towards the incoming talent of Grayson’s Tom King & Mikel Janin. The comic adopts features from the titles past while strongly establishing it’s own unique voice echoing the stylistic flourishes of King & Janin’s past work.
Batman Rebirth follows a week long attempt at stopping Calendar Man from destroying Gotham City while using the metaphor of the villains power set to symbolize the cyclical nature of comic book storytelling within Batman’s mythology. In DC Comics most recent relaunch, the theme of rebirth has played itself in different ways depending on the creators interpretation of how it applied to the individual comic series. Batman Rebirth is so far quite easily the most interesting and stylized interpretation of that concept. How much Snyder contributes to this issue is difficult to parse, it reads like his dialogue, although that can be similar to his co-author while the stories direction, plotting and format are 100% Tom King’s aesthetic that work wonderfully in the opening chapter. Having each day that Batman and new sidekick Duke Thompson pursue Calendar Man represent a season, King explores the concept of change and legacy within superhero comics all the while crafting an engaging story that is wall to wall action and adventure. It’s another fantastic single issue from the writer that manages to contain multitudes within it’s compressed timeline. Artist Mikel Janin and colorist June Chung are phenomenal in their detailed line work, fluid visual narration, contrasts & awe inspiring layouts. Taking over the series after Capullo is no easy task but Janin quickly establishes his style to the book and never looks back. Janin has a hint of the cartoonish leanings of Capullo in his character’s acting, but with much greater detail and a sharper line. His art has a sense of unreal realness that gives a natural depth to the artwork allowing for readers to get lost in the books artwork. Janin has multiple full page layouts or double splash pages and each one is intrinsically unique and engaging from one another. Chung accentuates Janin’s work with a light and dark contrast that is eye catching and engrossing while it almost feels like it’s representing a bridge between Grayson to Batman in the way it incorporates the aesthetic of both series.
Having maybe the toughest predecessor to follow up on, Batman: Rebirth is a stunning creative success in it’s introduction to the series in this amalgam of a new and old DC Universe that promises to keep the title among the best ongoing series in the medium. You just come back better each time.