REVIEW: Batman: Europa #1 (of 4)

STORY BY Matteo Casali, Brian Azzarello ART BY Jim Lee, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Publisher: DC Comics

The next two months are more Bat-centric than ever as DC Comics brings out the big guns, possibly as part of the hype generating machine gearing up for next Springs Batman Vs Superman film.  Following last weeks Superman: American Alien book we have the much touted Batman: Europa series.

Batman is going about his business as normal, stopping Croc in his tracks eventually.  It is the “eventually” bit that gets the Dark Knight thinking and after reflection he discovers the altercation took him longer and he feels more drained.  Back at the cave, and with Alfred’s help, Batman makes a startling discovery that leads him to Berlin and a surprising ally.

This series is brought to you by  a team of creators.  Writers Matteo Casali and one of the current Bat-writers, Brian Azzarello.  Between them, the pair merge the familiar, the opening panels are more than a tad recognisable and how many times have we seen Batman take down Croc, to slightly newer territory with the idea of going overseas.  The script is terse, as is the inner monologue that seems to keep Batman company.

One of the big attractions of the book is Jim Lee, whose pencils and finishes interact with Giuseppe Camuncoli’s layouts.  How does this work is probably the second most popular question, trailing the why do it?  The answer to both may be the next attempt to keep the famously detail conscious Lee on track to hit deadlines.  Looking at the book, Lee’s pencils look as clean as always, with only a couple of panels lacking the dynamism you’d expect.  Camuncoli’s impact seems to be less of the splash panels that populate most of Lee’s work.  Colorist Alex Sinclair does a fantastic job, with a painted texture that gives the book a mature feel.

Batman is always going to be popular.  As such, DC Comics (don’t you just hate that the “Comics ” in DC Comics is redundant but we all say it?) have a few choices: They can produce excellent quality stories with fantastic art or produce books that maintain a well established style covering that which has gone before or they can put out any old tat and put Batman in it.  If DC’s (see what I did there?) aim was to hit the first point, then they missed by a quite a bit; the book certainly looks good though story wise, there isn’t really anything new, which is a shame as I normally enjoy Azzarello’s work.  Still, the book will sell loads, with the draw of Batman by Lee again.

 

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