First off, I’d like to thank my lovely wife, Bellinda, for the great new background she made for my blog.  Thanks, love ;-).

Now for the review.  This is a great new beginning for DC’s flagship title.  The second volume of this series starts with a dark and gritty opening story that has great matching art, which is unfortunately, somewhat jumpy in a few scenes.  If you’ve been waiting for years to start at the beginning of a Batman story, this is your opportunity.

Though I’ve always considered myself a Batman fan, I had never actually picked up an individual issue of any series he had been in, only mini-series and graphic novels such as The Dark Knight Returns, or The Killing Joke (both of which are fantastic reads by the way).  I’d never gotten into the comics for a few reasons, mostly because of the series’ long history.  When I started avidly reading and collecting comic books Detective Comics and Batman both had well over 600 issues of continuity that I would never have been able to catch up on, and I’m the kind of person that likes to start from the beginning, so I didn’t even bother.  However, since DC decided to refresh all of their books with this “New 52” event, I figured I might as well give this caped crusader a shot.

The story begins with Batman in hot pursuit of none other than his arch-nemesis, the Joker.  However, this time around, because we’re seeing Batman early in his crime-fighting career, it seems as though he doesn’t have much experience fighting this villain, nor does he know all of his tricks.  We’re also introduced to a new villain in this story named Dollmaker, who has a nasty habit of removing his victims’ limbs and organs.  Batman seems to have discovered a connection between the two and is trying to find out what’s going on when things go bad very quickly.  Unfortunately, that’s about the best description I can write without giving too much away, although I will say one thing about the last page of this issue, it is hauntingly gruesome and it sends the series down a path that is far different from anywhere it has gone before.  When this issue ends, you’ll want to read the next one as soon as possible, which is perhaps the best compliment anyone could ever give a serialized book.

Tony S. Daniel pulled double duty for this issue, in that he both wrote the story and drew the artwork.  The story itself is great.  It’s written in a very detective/noir style that is befitting of a book with the title “Detective Comics.”  The writing is smooth and each character speaks with their own individual voice and style, so it’s easy to tell who is speaking at any given moment.  All of the familiar characters are here, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, so if you’re a fan of Batman stories, you’ll feel right at home with this one, until the book takes a turn down that dark and creepy alley you were hoping it wouldn’t, but of course, by then you’re so enthralled with what’s going on that you don’t want to turn away and you can’t wait to see what will happen next.  It can be a very conflicting feeling, but it’s one that makes reading this title that much more interesting.

The artwork is great, and matches the story’s style and tone, but as I mentioned before, it seems jumpy in a few places.  I say “jumpy” in the sense that there are a few times in the issue where the transition from the action in one panel to the action in the next isn’t always clear and it seems like there are a few moments of time missing in between.  One example early on in the issue is when the Joker is fighting someone and one panel shows him at arm’s length away with the combatant’s hand at the Joker’s throat, and in the very next panel, the Joker is pulling away from this person’s neck with a chunk of their throat in his mouth.  Yes, it makes enough sense that you can get a feel for what happened, but it just seems like a very rough transition, but that’s probably just my own personal pet peeve.  Other than that, Tony Daniel’s art is spot on.  The first two page splash that we get of Batman running across Gotham City’s rooftops is a wonderful way to open this new series.

Overall, this issue had a great story paired with great art.  However, that art seems disjointed in a few places during the issue, with hard and slightly confusing transitions from one panel to the next, but in the end, this book will leave you wanting only one thing, more Batman.

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