The Review Group looks at Batman #1. Yep, we're taking a risk on a brand new number one issue of a relatively unknown character.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.
This week we've got Batman #1 from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. We loved Snyder's last issue of Detective Comics, but can he carry that magic over to a totally different title in Batman? I dunno Scoob...
I quite enjoyed Batman #1 from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Like the other DCnU #1's so far, I wasn't sure what to expect going into this issue, but Snyder seems to have a good feel for writing Batman/Bruce Wayne and the Batman family. He nicely introduced us to the supporting characters, showed us a plethora of villains, and set up a solid mystery for the first arc. While there may have been too many characters to attract 'new' readers, it didn't take away from the story at all. If anything, new readers may be more curious as to who some of these cool looking villains are.
Capullo's art is probably the best I've seen from him. He's been around for a long time, and it was nice to see some cleaner work as opposed to his older work which had too many unnecessary lines. Gregs' storytelling, pacing, and facial expressions were great too.
GRADE: 8 of 10
To put it bluntly this is EVERYTHING a Batman comic should be. Scott Snyder wrote 10 issues of Detective Comics over the past year, they were legendary. One of the greatest runs ever on the character (even if it was Dick Grayson as Bat's). Now Snyder is writing Bruce as Batman, he gets it.
I had some reservations about Greg Capullo doing the art, because I'm not crazy about his style. Even if I thought he might be a good fit for Batman. Capullo kills it on art, it looks like nothing I've ever seen him do before. He has and I hate to say this a Darwyn Cooke look to his work here. It really fit the book had a cartoon look while also fitting the tone perfectly. Of course his art would be nothing with out the inks and the absolutely amazing coloring job Fco Plascenia did. Fco's work has always been amazing on Robert Kirkman's Invincible but this was a whole new level.
Maybe its a case where my bias is showing (I've never been a big Batman fan) but I didn't enjoy this issue as much as some other people did. I found that really nothing much happened. It was all well written for what it was, but I guess it's just not my cup of tea.
The cliffhanger ending was not bad either, but it's not like the character named will actually turn out to be a murderer. It's a case where it's too obvious that things aren't as they appear and I found that that took a great deal a way from the impact.
Like I said, it's not bad, but nothing I'd personally give a really high score to either -- 6 out of 10 I guess.
Seeing as I have no time to visit comic shops anymore, I took advantage of DC's New day and date policy and bought this on my phone.
Reading this on my phone wasn't a problem, but the comic being a total bore was. NuDC is a lot like old DC apparently. Super bland and the Todd McFarlane-lite art was underwhelming as well.
Scott Snyder may finally be starting to slip. Swamp Thing was alright but this comic is what I was afraid it was going to be. A really good Batman comic with all the familiar trappings of a pretty good batman comic but one that's been read many times before. The rope a dope of Joker and Dick was a pretty cool moment as was the new Batcave contact lens. We are introduced to a new character and well, we all know what new characters are... villains...something Snyder avoided in his original run by reintroducing Jim Gordon and you knew he was evil but not how evil. The last page reveal also very pretty awesome but it's something that can be easily resolved.
The art was fine and cartoony action packed. To his credit Snyder demonstrated that after Morrison he's the best Damian Wayne writer. So in the end I give this book....
The one true Batman is back and until he dies again in about seven years and Dick takes over the cowl again, I'll be very happy with this. This was a bit heavy with set-up but the final twist is a promise of good things to come. Snyder has not gone wrong with a Batman book yet and I don't see it happening now either.
The art was fine, enjoyable most of the time. I really thought the artist has a bit of an issue with the age differences between the Wayne boys but other than that it was enjoyable.
My Score: 8
I'll be blunt from the beginning. I expected better from this book, a lot better. While I wasn't very satisfied with the ending of Snyder's Detective Comics run with its rushed ending and inconsistent art, I attributed most of that to editorial constraints to meet the deadlines for this book...so regardless of my thoughts on the last issue I didn't blame Snyder.
Firstly, the opening scene is Arkham totally fell apart for me with the Joker moment despite the pretty cool moment of batman facing off against an army of his rogues gallery. That moment was just so contrived and the way it got strung along into the Batcave scene with Joker-style comments on Batman's brooding. It came across as way too forced just to build up the reveal. Moments like that are great for stories, but this one was far from it.
The rest of the issue seemed like by-the-book character building to establish the supporting cast of the Robin's, Jim Gordon and a few Gotham socialites along with what Bruce Wayne is doing these days. Not bad moments for spotlights, but not every gripping either.
Then the cliffhanger ending.....no, didn't do much for me either once I digested it and though about it for all of two seconds. This is the same Scott Snyder who delivered twist after turn on Detective Comics? He's now resorted to cheap shock cliffhangers like this? The writings not all that bad, Snyder's got a great grip on dialog and character moments...it's just that the storytelling in this book dropped the ball for me badly. Like I said earlier, everything reeked of being contrived to the point where my initial worries of Capullo drawing this book became equally divided into Snyder's writing.
Speaking of the art, never was a big fan of Capullo. In this issue he wasn't as bad as I remember for the most part. Sometimes his attention to detail with the settings was better than I ever remembered while at other times it would yo-yo to average to downright horrible moments like his take on Harvey Bullock. Very inconsistent...the coloring was well done though for what that's worth.
So in summary, I was really let down given how much good stuff Snyder has done recently. I guess DC is slowly burning him out with his massive workload.
Just below passable seems accurate for me.
I liked this issue a lot. It's certainly not the greatest Batman story ever, but it's a strong introductory issue. Snyder is a very efficient writer and in the opening fight scene shows us most of Batman's rogues gallery. In the next few pages, he shows us Batman's supporting cast. These scenes, while hardly heart-pounding, are necessary and handled as quickly as possible without coming off as rushed.
And the cliffhanger is awesome! It's the kinds of cliffhangers that we used to read every month in comics before they came to be dominated by lame, decompressed, 6- and 12-issue arcs. Yes, obviously, Dick is not going to turn out to be a psychopathic killer. But superhero comics have always placed the heroes under criminal suspicion ("Look, it's Superman robbing a bank") and then developed elaborate stories that show our heroes either duped or framed. If you don't like this kind of cliffhanger, then you should reevaluate your interest in superhero stories because this is one of the genre's most fun features.
The art and storytelling by Capullo are adequate, but a little too McFarlane-like for my taste. But the art isn't so bad that it detracts from the story.
Overall, this promises to be a fun Batman series. I will continue to read this book.
I thought this was a great first issue and very new reader friendly. Snyder does a good job of establishing Batman, his rogues and other supporting characters. There's nothing really that special here as this issue is fairly standard Batman. But, it's well written and has a few twists that kept me intrigued. I really liked the twist with the reveal that Dick was disguised as The Joker so Bruce had an inside plant in Arkham. The new Batcave contact lens is also a cool and welcomed addition to Batman's arsenal. The twist at the end is very interesting and it definitely has me coming back for the next issue. One other small problem for me is that it's fairly obvious the new mayoral candidate is going to be a villain of some kind. But, it's not enough to take away from my enjoyment of this issue.
I haven't seen much of Capulo's work since I stopped reading Spawn years ago. Not much has changed with his art. I thought his Batman and villains looked good but I wasn't a fan of the way he drew uncostumed people. I thought his Bruce Wayne lloked a little too young and that the Robins all looked too similar.
Story - 9
Art - 6
Overall - 7.5
Story - It must be strange having to write an introductory number one issue for Batman. I mean, who really needs an introduction to Batman? Well all know the deal, rich kid, dead parents, training montage, gets ass kicked, bat smashes through window, Batman! It's ingrained into our consciousnesses really. We all know who Batman is, so the challenge is to make us care. Scott Snyder does a decent job in this second ever Batman #1, but I'm not sure if the way he got us to care was a trick or not.
Snyder is one of the best new writers in the business, but he does have a tendency to over-use caption boxes in his superhero work, and this issue features a running commentary from Batman throughout, in which he discusses what exactly 'Gotham is...' but really, Snyder is attempting to define what Batman is these days. So we see Batman at the very top of his game, he's got a new costume with cool new gloves, and he takes out an army of his most dangerous villains fairly easily. We see that Batman is embracing technology more than ever before, first with Dick Grayson wearing an 'EMP Mask' in order to impersonate the Joker (a twist I'm still not sure whether I liked or not) and then with his new contact-lens computer, which allows Bruce Wayne to take the Batcave's databanks wherever he goes. Snyder cleverly uses this device not only to show how Batman is stepping up his war on crime, but also as an expository device for the reader, showing us who each former Robin is (because Capullo's art does make them look a little similar) as well as Vicki Vale and new character Lincoln March.
It is March and Bruce Wayne's speech in this issue which bother me the most. I feel like I've read Bruce Wayne make a big speech about 'forging a new Gotham' about 50 times now, and it's never followed up on. Writers do this speech, and then get distracted by the villains they are writing or the next Bat-Event or whatever, and so the next relaunch has the same speech. Hopefully Snyder will be the writer to buck the trend and have Bruce's pledges actually mean something, but at the moment, it had me rolling my eyes. The same is true for Lincoln March, who is just so obviously either a villain or linked to a villain. He's this year's Tommy Elliott and we all know it. Again, I have faith in Snyder to twist this a little, but so far, it's nothing I haven't seen before.
Thankfully things pick up again when Bruce heads out as Batman again, investigating a mysterious murder. This scene was classic Batman in a good way, showing a crazy situation, and then showing Batman slowly work it out and then throwing us a curve-ball in the revelation that Dick Grayson is apparently the murderer. This is why I suggest that Scott Snyder has made us care with a trick, because obviously Dick Grayson has not become a killer and a murderer, I mean, Nightwing #1 also came out this week. So this is most definitely a ruse, and nobody in their right mind would believe it. It's a cheeky cliffhanger for sure, but it does do it's job in that I want to read #2 not to see why Dick is evil, but to see who is behind it and how they framed him. With so many #1 issues out this month (and not just at DC) each book has to fight hard to get us also buy #2 and beyond, so I suppose this ending is a good thing, but it still feels cheap. And of course the title of the story is 'Knife Trick' so it is on purpose... but still!
On the whole, this was a strong first issue, it showcased Batman in almost all of his aspects, we saw him kick copious amounts of ass against weird villains, we saw him flex his playboy finances as Bruce Wayne, and we saw him deduct stuff as the world's greatest detective. Anyone who is unfamiliar with Batman gets the full bat-profile here. Snyder also showcases how Batman has changed and has moved forward, but still some cliches remain. The last page shocker may have been a bit cheap, but it did it's job, and while I'm not as convinced as others that Scott Snyder is the second coming of Bill Finger, this was a solid Batman comic and one I'm interested in following.
Art - I was intrigued to see how Greg Capullo's art would look free from the clutches of Todd McFarlane. The artist had worked on Spawn for about 10 years and then moved straight on over to Toddy Mac's new series Haunt, so his inextricably linked with the Baseball-collecting litigious Canadian, but is actually a damn good artist in his own right and did a good job here, albeit with some issues. I wasn't sure about his reinterpretations of some of Batman's villains (Mohawk Riddler? Ugh!) but we don't know for sure if he did these redesigns. Another issue is that a lot of the male characters look exactly the same, the panel where Bruce stands with Dick, Tim and Damian is crazy, like a Bruce Wayne Russian Doll or something, they look the same but smaller each time. And when Bruce is chatting with Lincoln March... they look the same again. But when Capullo is out in the streets, drawing Batman, it looks awesome, like a cross between Frank Miller and of course Todd McFarlane. So the Batman sequences are awesome and the Bruce Wayne sequences need work, but overall it's strong dynamic stuff. Oh, and I got a kick out of how Harvey Bullock looked exactly like either Sam or Twitch.
Best Line - 'The party? He's using it to remember who you are, Drake' God I love Damian Wayne, he's such a dickhead.
A diverse range of score there I'm sure you'll agree! Could our Friendly Neighbourhood Snyder-Man be slipping? Surely not! In the end Batman #1 got a highly respectable average of 6.98. If that's slipping, then I'm sure he won't mind!
Head over to the thread to read all of the reviews in their uncut form, as well as a discussion as to why it's OK for Batman to over-use cliches but not for Criminal to do the same.
Next week we've got Aquaman #1 for ya! OUTRAGEOUS!
Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt
The Outhouse is sponsored by Cinema Crazed: Celebrating Film Culture & Pop Culture.
Comment without an Outhouse Account using Facebook
Note: while you are welcome to speak your mind freely on any topic, we do ask that you keep discussion civil between each other. Nasty personal attacks against other commenters is strongly discouraged. Thanks!
About the Author - Niam Suggitt
Niam Suggitt, Punchy to his friends, is the most humblest of all the Outhouse writers. His easy going manner and ability to see and recognize the point of views of those who he disagrees with has made him one of the most sought after members of our community to resolve conflicts. Although he likes all of you, and considers everyone to be his friend, Punchy would prefer you use “Niam Suggitt” when quoting him for the front cover blurb on your book. Follow this wonder of a man at @NiamSuggitt, if you want to, he’s cool with you either way.
More articles from Niam Suggitt