The Review 52: Batman 1
Something that I have really liked about the New 52 so far is that there haven’t been any origin stories so far. We all know who these guys are and why they do what they do. Well, most of them anyways. This trend continues with Batman 1, which is definitely in my top five of the New 52.
This issues starts with a bang as Batman beats the holy hell out of most of his major recent villains and some oldies in Arkham asylum. While this is going on, there is a monologue over top of it all from Bruce Wayne as he talks about what Gotham is and what other people have said it was. This is also the big theme in this issue. Around the middle of the issue Bruce as Bruce gives a long speech about what Gotham is to him. The city that stole his parents from him and that he has to fight against its worst parts night after night. But he doesn’t go off on some rant about what a horrible place it is. He instead gives an impassioned speech about what Gotham could be and what it will be.
That right there is one of my absolute favorite things about this issue. Batman is equal parts Bat and Bruce. Half the issue is him Batman-ing it up something fierce, while the other half is him being a businessman and a leader of industry. He actually cares about Gotham and what it can become. Then again the reveal of why he is doing this kind of undercuts that sentiment a bit, but still. He makes himself be a better Batman by being a better Wayne. In Detective Comics and Batman and Robin, Batman seemed to be distancing himself from the human half of the Bat. Not so much in this issue. There is one bit at the beginning of the issue when Batman is about to fight all the Arkham enemies where he let’s out a sigh and says “There’s no place like home.” The Batman in either of the series I mentioned above would never say something like that, not even under their breath. That should give you an idea of what kind of Batman we are dealing with this time around. On top of Batman, writer Scott Snyder is also writing Swamp Thing, Severed and I think American Vampire still going on. All of these have been awesome, and The Caped Crusader is no exception.
Most people will probably know Greg Capullo from his work with Marvel and Spawn. I know him from his work on Haunt. I loved the art in Haunt and the art in this issue is very similar. His art style is very well suited for action, especially very hard action. Each time Batman punches someone, it looks really visceral and you know he is fucking these people up something fierce. He breaks Killer Croc’s leg at one point and you can tell that hurt like a motherfucker. A lot of the villains have had a little bit of tweaking to their designs. Pyg’s mask is now made out of fabric and he has Prof pinned to his crazy person onesie. The Riddler now has a band tied around his head for the mask and his green hair cut into a question mark mohawk. Two-Face’s fucked up side is even more fucked up. I think he’s missing an eye now. But my favorite has to be the Ventriloquist and Scarface. Obviously in a loony bin they wouldn’t let him have the actually Scarface puppet, so the Ventriloquist made a makeshift one out of some sheet and couple of buttons. But whenever Scarface is actually in frame, the Ventriloquist is hiding behind some wall. You don’t actually see him until Batman punches him in the face. I just loved that.
This issue is fantastic. That’s just one of the many words I could use to describe it. The story is great, setting up some great characters and a really great mystery that leaves you begging for more. The art is outstanding. The characters look great, the action looks great and I am not sure if this is a throwaway thing or something important but Capullo put “I was here twice” on something in the back of Arkham that I didn’t notice my first read through. Either way, if you are a fan of the Batman, interested in getting into Batman or even if you’re not get Batman 1. It is a definite must.
Final Score: 5/5