Justice League: The Darkseid War: Batman #1
By Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan, and Gabe Eltaeb
As “The Darkseid War” storyline in the current run of Justice League hits its climax, six one-shots are being released to explore how certain members of the League are handling their newfound powers and abilities. Despite Francis Manapul’s tremendous cover depicting Green Lantern, he is nowhere to be seen within the pages of this comic. This is all Batman, which means Gotham City comes into play. Now that Batman is the God of Knowledge, as he sits upon the Mobius Chair, he believes he finally has the ability to truly stop crime. Yet, his methods and drive are coming into question by those he trusts most…
Peter J. Tomasi is no stranger to writing Bruce Wayne/Batman stories (Batman & Robin) and is adept at handling this type of material. Geoff Johns gave readers glimpses of the consequences of handling the omniscient chair and Tomasi runs with that to tell a powerful and thought-provoking story. He really delves into who Batman is at his core and illustrates how his previous methods were arguably more moralistic, despite them possibly being ultimately fruitless. This issue does not thrive on action at all. The first quarter, if not more, of the issue was a conversation between the Dark Knight and Commissioner Gordon. Being that the content is dense, it forces the readers to really pay attention to what is being said and what Tomasi has to say absolutely adds weight to the Batman character.
Despite being a dialogue-driven story, Peter emphasizes the fantastic abilities that Bruce is capable of now. Fernando Pasarin is able to translate the scenes wonderfully to the page. Having Batman transport criminals to remote locations to deliver what he considers are proper punishments are highlights of this one-shot. Pasarin seems to have a real talent for drawing facial expressions and physical actions to convey strong emotion. His close-up panels are used to full effect every time. Inker Matt Ryan and colorist Gabe Eltaeb work in tandem with Fernando to really set the tone and look. Being that the setting is predominantly in Gotham, shadows are very important. Ryan and Eltaeb make sure Bruce’s new suit is the highlight every time he’s shown. The God of Knowledge is always front and center.
Tie-in comics are usually lackluster, but this creative team is an exception to the rule. They showed that a single, self-contained issue can be potent and passionate. Hopefully, this group will work again because the end result is impressive. It’s possible to read this without being up to speed in Justice League, but it is highly recommended to start there. This is a comic Batman fans will enjoy and deeply appreciate.