by Tom King, David Finch, Matt Banning, Danny Miki, Jordie Bellaire, John Workman
A new era of Batman and Gotham City is here. But is it the era we deserve?
For one reason or another, Batman used to be a must read. When it came out, you had to try to avoid spoilers and hurry to read the issue in order to learn what all the hubbub was about. With the reins under King, Finch, and Janin; we’re still getting settled in to what this new team has to offer to the long history of the Caped Crusader.
I feel the Caped Crusader moniker fits here, as this Batman feels more superheroic than I’ve seen in a while. He’s not the Bat-god we saw so much of, more like the Batman of DCAU working alongside the Justice League like it’s no big deal.
As technically impressive as this issue is, and it is, I was trying to nail down why it didn’t grab me. Batman used to be a serious contender for TWF, but I easily decided this issue wasn’t up for it. Looking at the page layout on my screen, I realized that just not much happens this issue. Batman, Gotham, and Lady Gotham defeat Solomon Grundy, talk to Commissioner Gordon, and another classic Bat-villian (or is it two?) is revealed on the final page. King moves forward the mystery of who brought three deadly missiles into Gotham City, then the story moves on as he asks the three biggest heroes in town to help out.
One positive I can say, with a fair amount of surprise and joy, is that David Finch’s art is still pretty great. As of late, his work appeared busy and muddled, along with always being very late. Forever Evil being a prime example of this. Whether its the two inkers, or the headstart, or Finch just pacing himself this looks much better than what fans could come to expect from him. In some ways, his art style could be seen as a spiritual successor to Greg Capullo’s line if not his flair for storytelling. Finch plays more to conventions, which isn’t a bad thing as long as its done well. He usually excels at the action beats of superhero stories, deemed by some as the “money-shot” approach in books discussing comic art and it fits.
It could be I still need to adjust to King and Finch running Batman, as when Scott Snyder was announced back in 2011 I immediately wondered why the heck DC gave him the title when I hadn’t even heard of him. However I quickly changed my mind after reading American Vampire and The Black Mirror, the new team I’m much more familiar with and I’m still not entirely sold.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent