Saturday, October 01, 2011

Review: The Dark Knight #1

I've always thought of The Dark Knight as being a comic for people who really like the way David Finch draws Batman stuff, and not a comic for people who want to read a good Batman story. There's nothing wrong with that- I've bought plenty of comics just for the art- but it put it pretty squarely in the "not for me" category pre-relaunch. This time around, however, DC brought in writer Paul Jenkins to assist with the book's writing duties. Jenkins has written some stuff that I liked, like last week's Deadman tale and Batman: Jekyll and Hyde, and since I'm a pretty big batfan, I thought I might get a little more enjoyment out of this one.

The introduction of the story, which has Batman describing the nature of fear, is pure Jenkins, and left me feeling like the book was off to a good start. After an impressive quick change, Bats is giving a speech at a fundraiser as Bruce Wayne. It seems like there's a little carryover from Scott Snyder's Batman #1 here, which is appreciated. With the exception of Detective Comics, which may be set in the past, all the Batbooks feel like they're in the same world, regardless of any difference in tone. We're soon introduced to Jaina Hudson, who's apparently Bruce's new love interest. I can't say I found the character all that interesting as written on the page, but her background- she's the daughter of a diplomat and a Bollywood actress- seems like it has potential.

Soon however, duty calls, and Bruce dons the cowl just in time to show up a bunch of armed security cards. Within no time, he's punching up bad guys and running the show. As he leads the guards through Arkham, we catch a glimpse of the White Rabbit. But sadly, it's not this guy:

..who would really add some fun to this story. Instead, it's this girl:

..who appears to be taking over the role of Poison Ivy now that she's out of the crime business. Batman has a lot of Wonderland themed villains, and adding another one makes sense. I just hope there's a little more to this one than the seductress stuff we've seen in solicits and on covers.

Glad our safety's in your hands, random security guy.
The book's ending left me giggling, but I'm not sure it was supposed to have that effect, and I don't think I'll be checking in to see what happens next. Even with Paul Jenkins, The Dark Knight isn't a title I'm interested in reading. This isn't a bad book, but it falls pretty firmly in the "meh" category. With serialized fiction, the most important thing a story should do is get stuck in the reader's head, and leave them wondering what will happen next until the next month goes around. The Dark Knight lacks that kind of staying power, and readers with big piles of books may have completely forgotten it by issue #2.

I'm not a fan of the way Finch draws faces, but he's certainly a talented artist, and he does strong work here. He puts a lot of work into each page, especially his exterior backgrounds, and seems like he had a great time drawing the Arkham inmates. Fans of his artstyle won't be disappointed, and should be really pleased by the sheer variety of characters he takes on here. Alex Sinclair's colors fit his work very well, as do Richard Friend's inks.

This isn't quite as new reader friendly as Batman #1, but people who've never read a comic should have no problem following the issue. Though Finch has discussed plans to tie his tale into Batman Inc, right now, it's just a standard bat story, and all you really need to know are the basics. It helps that there are several new characters here, and that brand new readers are getting introduced to them along with everything else. The issue mostly focuses on basic crimefighting Batman rather than his elaborate tech, and spends a good amount of time on Bruce Wayne's playboy persona.

With the wealth of Batman books available, I think this one's only for Finch fans and Batman fanatics. Anyone who liked this book before the relaunch should be sure to pick this up, but there's nothing here to change the minds of the folks who never got into it. Those on the fence about this one should know that issue 2 is supposed to have a pretty jawdropping final page, but even cliffhangers aren't enough for me to stick with this one. I can only read so many comics a month, and Batman, Batman and Robin, and 2 team books are more than enough to give me my monthly Batman fix.

By Marceline with 1 comment


Agree...this was a let down. I enjoyed Batman #1 much more.

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