Writer(s): Scott Snyder, Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Release Date: 1st June, 2016
When last week’s DC Universe: Rebirth was released, I was very excited. I’ve been totally out of the loop of the DC comics for the past few years, probably since the start of the New 52, so the idea of a new universe being set up once again had me excited at the opportunity to dive back in. The last DC books I read were Flashpoint and The Black Mirror, so anything between now and then has gone right past me. While this may be a review by a comic geek and certainly a Batman geek, it’s also a review from someone who has been sadly out of the DC loop for years now.
This first issue of our new Rebirth-era Batman is one that focuses on a smaller villain, The Calendar Man. A lot of the Batman movies focus on Joker, Penguin, the heavy hitters of the Batverse, but we tend to forget that even some of the smaller villains in the Batman lore are very interesting, such as Calendar Man. Not only do we focus on Calendar Man, we also find Batman training a new sidekick of sorts. He’s not quite the new Robin, as Batman himself says, he’s “Something new.”
Scott Snyder has been with the Batman comics for some time now, in fact he wrote The Black Mirror which I remember loving. From the looks of this book, there’s a reason he’s still with DC. Snyder and co-writer Tom King are able to create a shockingly compelling story in this short issue. When you think quintessential Batman, this is the kind of stuff you think about. This may be a sort of reboot series, but this still feels like the Batman we all know and love. To my knowledge, although Rebirth is a reboot of sorts, it still does tie back into some of the previous books (Flashpoint was mentioned heavily in DC Universe: Rebirth) but this shouldn’t shy anyone away from checking this out. Snyder and King give plenty of context clues to latch onto so you’re never lost. In the world of comics–especially a world as dense as DC–it’s easy to get lost in the expansive lore, but Batman stories always tend to be a bit more grounded than the rest. Maybe it’s because I grew up as such a Batman geek, but these books always tend to clue me in just enough.
The reason this issue is so great to me, is that fact I flew through this book in a way that totally threw me for a loop. I was so engrossed by the story flow and characters that when I looked down at the bottom of the page and saw “Next: Batman #1!” I gave out a resounding “FUCK!”. This book reads like the best Batman TV episode or movie that I could ask for, with the snappy dialogue and engaging story, which is a special thing to manage in your inaugural issue. This book is a masterwork of how to create story flow in a comic. The way my eyes moved from panel-to-panel, word bubble to word bubble, it moved along so quickly and smoothly as if I were actually watching a movie. It’s a very impressive feat.
I also want to give praise to Mikel Janin (Artist) and June Chung (Colors) who are able to visually represent this script perfectly. The look of this book—from the coloring to the character design—is exactly that look you crave for when you crack open a Batman book. Not only does the story and dialogue glue you to the pages, so does the beautiful artwork and gorgeous coloring on all of the backgrounds, costumes and such. I actually went back to the issue a second time just to admire the artistry in the simplest designs, such as backdrops, little details. It creates the atmosphere that you want from a Batman book.
Batman: Rebirth #1 feels like quintessential Batman, all the best elements of the character and his world utilized perfectly, while still feeling fresh. It never feels like a rehash, but it gets that Batman spirit just right. If you’re a comic fan, or you’re someone who’s looking to dive in, this is the perfect time to do so.
If you found DC Universe: Rebirth to be a little too jam-packed and dense, fear not because the story here is very simple and contained. I know I’m geeking out quite a bit here, and I could be a bit biased since I’ve been a Batman geek since the first grade, but as a Batman geek who hasn’t read a Batman book in years, this is exactly the type of story that I’d want to suck me back in. And it’s safe to say that Batman: Rebirth #1 has done just that.
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The writer of this piece was: Mike Annerino
Mike Tweets from @MikeAnnerino