Comics/Graphic Novels

Batman #1 (2016) Comic Book Review

As a fan of the ‘Batman’, I am used to see him punching his way out of any battle. I’ve often witnessed him outsmarting, even the most cunning of bad-guys and I’ve even beheld him come back from the grave. What I don’t feel we see quite as often, however, is the level of love he holds for his fellow man and his city. In ‘Batman #1’, this is conveyed plainly, from beginning to end.

Warning: There may be possible spoilers ahead.

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This issue contains, possibly the most heart-felt ‘Bruce’ I’ve seen, save the moments he has been confronted with the death of others. Here is a ‘Bruce’ willing to sacrifice almost anything to save the lives of people he has never met, and it is that, and not his physical skill, that sets him apart in the ‘hero’ world.

Alongside this heroism, is his trust and reliance on his right-hand man, Alfred. In this issue, this is shown to be absolute and results in a moment that may bring a tear to even the steeliest of eyes.

As well as the palpable emotion there is also a mystery waiting to be solved. Who are ‘Gotham’ and ‘Gotham Girl’?

Without giving too much away, these heroes are seemingly the ‘super’ kind, sporting abilities that automatically bring to mind ‘Superman’ and ‘Supergirl’.  Given that most of us will remember the accounts of ‘Batman’s’ first meetings with other ‘super-beings’ (hint: they didn’t go well) the stage is really set for a possible confrontation, especially given that these new heroes wear the name of Batman’s city as their calling card.

Tom King has been set a daunting task, to do this righteous character justice, in his title comic. Thus far, he has more than delivered. Within the pages of a ‘Batman’ comic we have come to expect pages filled with action, hand-to-hand combat, and the foiling of an enemies plot. This issue, however delivers a more subtle display of ‘Batman’s’ grasp of tactics as well as a barrel full of tension. The real stand-out, thus far, in King’s writing is the level of emotion and loyalty that he has lent this prolific character, as he battles to save the lives of those in his beloved city.

In a perfect pairing, artists Matt Banning and David Finch have given us images that more than convey the emotion in King’s narrative and are filled with a level of detail that easily transports us to the side of our much-admired hero.

In all, ‘Batman: Rebirth #1’ is a triumph. It’s a rare thing to find a comic that delivers both drama and emotion in equal measures, but this is one of them. In this issue, the stage is set for a debate (or battle) as to who the real protector of ‘Gotham’ is and I, for one, will be there to root for Batman to the very end.

 

Score: 9/10

Batman #1 is available to buy from today by clicking here or by visiting your local comic book retailer.

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