It’s been said that, “the more things change, the more things stay the same”. This issue, very much like its New 52 predecessor, maintains the status quo of the Batman mythos as there is a strong continuation proving that the Rebirth event is definitely not the reboot that cynics may feel it was.
The book has an introductory feel to it. Maybe it doesn’t go as far as show how Bruce became Batman or any of the usual origins trappings, but there is still that “this is the new world” feel. This is in part to a trio of elements in the story. The first of these is Duke Thomas’ meanderings through the Batcave and his impertinence of his “Robin doesn’t need a Batman” statement. The second the small matter of how Bruce gets his money and his company back from the government. Finally, the Calendar Man goes through a number of changes, elevating him from a creepy know it all, into a creepier know it all. Despite theses new elements, Tom Kring and Scott Snyder also look to embrace the past with the inclusion of the tree chopping – Year One style.
There are those fans that have loved Scott Snyder’s work and are sorry to see him leave this book. Whilst I can appreciate all the great stories that Snyder has penned, there is always a time for a writer to move on lest he or she gets burdened by their own success. In this instance, Tom Kring steps into the breach after working with Snyder on the various Eternal books. Between the two of them, their story works well. There is the introspective moments, along with daring-do that accompanies Batman’s various physical feats. The dialogue works well throughout the book, with Alfred being his unflappable self, contrasting Duke’s irreverent attitude.
The artist for this issue is Mikel Janin whose work is different to the sometimes cartoon look of Greg Capullo’s work. Here, thin lines showing great detail have a finesse look which is then changed up for the darker world that Batman walks. This approach gives the book a fresh overall look and feel. It’s as if a new dawn has broken over Gotham. Some of the credit has to go to June Chun whose colors bring both vibrancy and darkness in equal measures to proceedings.
After the fantastic Rebirth #1 issue, I was hoping that the main books would continue to create the same level of excitement. It may be then, we have been a tad spoilt. For all the freshness that this book appears to hold, under further scrutiny its polish does indeed tarnish. Moving forward, this book may indeed be a solid starting point for both Duke and the Calendar Man, but in light of last weeks Rebirth revelations, this issue feels like a step backwards. In the past, Snyder has taken one issue characters and moved them front and centre at a later stage. This is may be the course that Kring is plotting, leading to this book having a greater impact then it seems at this first sight.
Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 3.5 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars
STORY BY Scott Snyder, Tom King
ART BY Mikel Janin
COLORS BY June Chung
LETTERS BY Deron Bennett
COVER BY Mikel Janin, Howard Porter, Hi-FiPUBLISHERDC Comics