The revelations of the past and for the promise of the future that the answer holds, leads Batman and his fiancé on a special mission into the heart of a country that Batman himself, along with his Justice League friends had barred entry. Still, when has the Justice League ever really stopped Batman?
This is part one of story that is promising to close out some of the hanging threads and ramifications of Bruce’s big reveal from the conclusion of the War. Whether you feel it was much of a reveal is totally up to you of course; writer Tom King seems to think it is a pretty big scar to heal.
Every creator that works on a franchise character seeks to add a new dimension to the character. With Denny O’Neil it was returning Batman to his dark roots, with Doug Moench there was a sense of realism as Batman’s biggest enemy was the politico’s of Gotham and Frank Miller looked to expand on the Batman’s birth and possible death. Tom King has decided to add more psychological scars onto Bruce – the idea that once he suffered the loss of parents, the next loss would have to be his personal vow. Whilst this issue is only the start of that journey, the terseness of the dialogue between the Bat and the Cat makes a return after the seemingly endless pillow talk of the last story. Where King surprises is the humour between the Robins and the not Robins and the physical humour of Ace. These touches are a welcome break to the heaviness of a series that seems to have been trying to deliver the home run every time at bat.
One of my favourite artists of the last couple of years, Joelle Jones, moves on to the big bad Bat. I have enjoyed her work on her The Lady Killer book (look out for the Easter egg) and her recent work on Supergirl Being Human. Initially, I was disappointed with the pencils in this issue. Its a scratchier affair than I expected, with some of the faces looking over detailed. Upon further review, I have softened to it; the framework of both Batman and Catwoman are both solid, as is Ace. Where I feel the art loses its way a little is ironically where the best part of the book lay; the Robins and not Robins.
With the continuity of the Bat books all over the place at the moment, I had a hard time telling who was who, for the most part. Tied into that, was that the characters didn’t look like themselves as seen in their other appearances. I hope that this just a short term problem as Jones’ finds her feet. The colors are provided by long time Jones’ collaborator Jordie Bellaire who delivers the usual high quality of work you would expect.
I am really on the fence with this issue and if I am perfectly honest, that’s exactly how I feel about the whole run since Rebirth #1. It seems that rather than tell a straight up story, King is always look to deliver a mini event of sorts. He isn’t the one wholly to blame, DC has been playing that particular card since New 52. At times it’s worked and other times, maybe not so. Finally, does anyone else miss the Batman that used to stop crime in Gotham? Where did he go? Maybe we should light a signal, or something.
Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 3.5 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars
Written by; Tom King
Art by; Joelle Jones
Colors by; Jordie Bellaire
Published by; DC Comics