Monday, September 26, 2011

The New 52 Review: BATMAN #1


WRITER: Scott Snyder
PENCILS: Greg Capullo
INKS: Jonathan Glapion
COLORIST: FCO Plascencia
LETTERS: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
COVER: Greg Capullo
32pp, Color, $2.99

After Batman made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (cover date May 1939), he debuted in his own self-titled comic book, Batman (cover date May 1940). The series began as a quarterly and became a monthly sometime around the end of the 1950s. Batman the ongoing series ran for 713 issues.

With the re-launch of DC Comics’ superhero line, “The New 52,” we get a new Batman #1 (“Knife Trick”) from prose writer turned comic book scribe, Scott Snyder, and former star-to-be artist, Greg Capullo. The issue begins with bang as Batman quells a riot at Arkham Asylum with help from a surprising partner.

Then, it’s time to play civilian as Bruce Wayne and three of the four Robins: Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne attend a posh soiree. Headlined by Wayne, this gathering is about the future of Gotham City, but crime does not sleep as a mysterious and deadly figure makes his point.

Batman #1 strains to be a great first issue. Writer Scott Snyder seems to be trying too hard to convince readers that his new Batman is going to be a big deal, so his performance as a writer ends up being like an over-anxious young star athlete who won’t relax and “let the game come to him.” Even the riot at Arkham is mostly style and filler, but just misses being killer. The murder sequence at the end of this first issue is just a rehash of various scenes from the film, Se7en. Talent borrows, eh?

It’s much the same for Greg Capullo’s debut as artist. His compositions show the influences of manga, anime, Matt Wagner, Frank Miller, and while some panels and even a few pages are really nice, a lot of it seems like Capullo is trying too hard. Plus, inker Jonathan Glapion just makes it worse; maybe it will take a few issues for Capullo and Glapion to gel as a team.

This book and its primary creators show potential, but I have a feeling that “can they deliver?” is a question that will be asked for quite awhile.


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