By Tom King, David Finch, Matt Banning, Jordie Bellaire, and John Workman
Batman: Rebirth #1 served as a buffer of sorts. We got a little taste of Scott Snyder’s run, while welcoming Tom King’s ideas into the fold. Overall, it was a great start. Batman #1 is completely Tom King’s show and if the first issue is any indication of how things are going to be, then you can count us in.
It’s not like Tom King is blowing things up and reinventing the wheel. In some ways, it’s still a standard Batman comic. If it isn’t broke, why fix it? However, King is focusing on some very interesting aspects of the character, including things that haven’t been explored in a long time.
Where Snyder’s run was all about legacy and mortality, King appears to be going for a more modernized approach. From the start, King uses his knowledge as a former government employee to demonstrate how the Batman is a well-oiled machine and has a resemblance of a miniature military operation. The entire issue revolves around Batman trying to save a plane from crashing into the middle of Gotham. This involves very specific equipment, as well as information from allies like Alfred and Duke. Both offer assistance by figuring out mathematical angles and how he needs to guide the plane in a particular way in order to save countless lives.
It’s actually a fascinating way to explain how Batman works. For any fans that get too hung up on how “Batman can do anything and that’s stupid,” it gives an explanation for how that might be possible. You know, other than the fact that he’s a fictional protagonist in a fictional story where he must win for more stories to happen.
This is all presented around the question of whether or not Batman’s methods are effective enough. You have people in the crashing plane wishing that Gotham had a hero like Superman or a Green Lantern, upset that all they get is Batman and an army of theatrical killers. Within the rules of their universe, that’s actually a legitimate complaint and King thinks of a very exiting way to bring that point to the reader.
By the end of the issue, it appears that their prayers may be answered in the form of two new heroes. Very little is known about these characters named “Gotham and “Gotham Girl,” but King seems to have a plan in place. Soon enough, we’ll have our answers. They’re exciting prospects because super-powered heroes in Gotham can be used to shed a new light on Batman and his methods of crime prevention.
As always, David Finch is right at home in Gotham. Honestly, this is probably his best work since he left Batman: The Dark Knight, which should tell you that this is right where he should be. Two or three smaller panels have a lack of detail and can be jarring, but the rest is simply superb. Colorist Jordie Bellaire does some incredible work on this issue, especially with Gotham City itself. There’s plenty of darkness in the sky that complements the lava-colored light coming from the streets. The effect makes it look like Gotham is built right on top of the flames of Hell.
King and Finch are off to a roaring start. This issue is a fun and exciting read for anyone and everyone. In the coming weeks, this reviewer will be happy to examine future issues for your review-reading pleasure.