Posts Tagged ‘The New 52’

Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Batman & Robin series provides perhaps the most interesting premise in all four of DC’s “New 52” Batman centered books; however, it doesn’t seem to actually pull off that premise very well.

The story starts off in Moscow, where someone claiming to be an “ally of the Bat” apprehends a criminal, only to be brutally beaten a few moments later by an invisible force who calls himself “Nobody.”   From there we’re sent back to the familiar confines of Wayne Manor, in Gotham City.  Here we find Bruce Wayne sulking alone, as he has been known to do, staring at a picture of his parents and declaring that it is time for a change.  He wakes up his son, Damian, to go out a little early for their nightly patrol.  Yes, in case you were wondering, Bruce and Damian Wayne are Batman and Robin, respectively.  They’re starting a little early tonight, because Bruce wants to take Damian to the place where everything started, where Batman began, in Crime Alley, so that he can remember what happened there one last time before it is torn down and revitalized.  He also claims that from here on out, he will no longer remember the day his parents died, but rather celebrate the date of their wedding anniversary.  Damian does not seem to appreciate the Wayne legacy as much as his father does, which leads to some light bickering between the two.  When they arrive in the alley via the sewer system, Bruce has a mini memorial where he remembers how everything occurred all those years ago that made him who he is today.  This however, is cut short by a report of a disturbance at Gotham University.  Batman and Robin rush out of the sewer system to investigate, and find a very dangerous robbery going on.

For the most part, Peter Tomasi’s writing here is good, and as I mentioned, the idea of Batman and Robin being a father-son team is probably the most interesting part of this book because it adds a whole new dynamic to the relationship between the characters that we’ve never seen before.  To add to this, Damian/Robin is written as very sarcastic, often talking back to his father in a very harsh and disrespectful manner.  While this makes for an interesting story, it also seems as though it causes Batman to speak in some uncharacteristic and even childish ways.  It almost seems like Bruce is being brought down to Damian’s level, which doesn’t seem like something a character as strong as Batman would do.  On the positive side, Nobody seems like he’s going to make a very intriguing villain in the Bat-universe.

Gleason’s artwork is pretty good, although it doesn’t seem to be anything spectacular.  I would have liked to have seen a little bit more detail on some of the character drawings, but other than that I have no real complaints about the art.  It works well enough for this story.  The two page splash of Batman and Robin in the middle of the story is definitely the highlight of the artwork in this issue.

Overall, this is a pretty good book, but with the greatness that has already been put out there with the Detective Comics and Batman first issues, this one just doesn’t seem to compare to either of those.  On the other hand, I am looking forward to seeing how Tomasi fleshes out the villain, Nobody, and how he continues to write the relationship between Bruce and Damian but it would have to be a great story in order to make up for such an awkward and uncharacteristic depiction of Batman.

Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo’s take on Batman is fantastic.  The story glides with seemingly minimal effort to a cliffhanger ending that has me very much anticipating issue #2.

The issue starts off by taking a broader look at Gotham City and what it means to the people who live there, and then it quickly moves into a massive fight between Batman and some of his greatest enemies within the walls of Arkham Asylum, where it appears that one of the workers is involved in some less than legal activities.  During the course of the melee, Batman seems to recruit a very unusual partner to help him fight off the villains.  From here the story moves away from Batman for a short time and focuses more on Bruce Wayne at a dinner party, where he reveals to Gotham’s elite his plans to rebuild and revitalize the city from the decrepit condition it is currently in.  However, in the midst of the party he is pulled back into his detective work as the Dark Knight when he gets word of a grisly murder across town, and it only gets better after that with some key clues he finds at the crime scene.

Scott Snyder writes a brilliant first issue here, with wonderful pacing and just enough action in the first few pages to completely hook readers for the rest of the issue, if not the rest of this story arc.  The writing flows so well that I just kept turning pages and was actually surprised when I reached the end because I had lost all concept of how far I was into the issue.  Snyder has written Batman stories before, so it’s obvious that he feels very comfortable and at home with this character and his supporting cast.

Greg Capullo’s art isn’t incredibly realistic, but it is able to portray movement and action very well.  The large fight scene from the beginning of the book is a perfect example.  People are getting punched and kicked and generally just thrown all over the place, and even though they are just still pictures on a comic book page, at some points you really do get the impression that they are moving and there are bodies flying around in front of you.  The pages with less action do have a tendency to look somewhat cartoonish at times, but it still fits well into the story and the art seems like it belongs.

There really isn’t much more to say about this issue, except that I hope all of them are as good as this.  It’s fantastic; go pick it up as soon as you can.

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.