Comic Book Review 04 – Batman: The Dark Knight #1

Well well well… here are again with another entry for the New 52 coverage here by the comic Vice coverSquad! This time up, we have Batman: The Dark Knight #1, a $2.99 DC Comic, released on September 28, 2011. This gem of an issue is written and co-plotted by Paul Jenkins, and features pencils by the incredible David Finch, who also co-plots, inks by Richard Friend, colors by Alex Sinclair, and letters by Sal Cipriano. I must admit, I’ve been waiting to review this book since this September is a big month for DC, and it’s the final week of releases for the 52 new #1s! I happen to be a huge fan of David Finch; he’s done so many covers for Marvel Comics and all his recent work with DC, but it’s a treat to read a book he actually does the interior art on.  Hey, the guy is a superstar in this industry for a reason.

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The issue opens with a great scene that captures a bit of the give and take that exists and must constantly be dealt with, for a man such as Bruce Wayne/Batman, who leads a double life and has a secret identity.  Batman is in his Bat-plane, double timing it to get to a function that he/Bruce Wayne is already “fashionably late” for. The Batman’s opening inner monologue segues into Bruce Wayne’s speech about “fear” at the event he was so furiously hightailing it to. After he leaves the podium, we see Bruce in full on billionaire playboy mode with beautiful women draped all over him as he schmoozes an unnamed congressman and they share a bit of interesting conversation. The congressman expresses his gratitude for “… how many jobs Wayne Enterprises has created in the technology market over the years” and talks up Bruce’s Gotham Revitalization Plan.  Bruce then makes, what I find to be, a rather curious statement, about how he trusts to have the congressman’s support on their purchase WITH the Chinese. What might one of the world’s leading technology firms and an American company, be purchasing from/with the Chinese…hmmm??? It is only alluded to in this brief encounter, so I imagine, it is a plot thread that will be picked up in future issues. After his talk with the politician, Bruce is confronted by a Lieutenant Forbes, from the Internal Affairs branch of the Gotham City Police Department. Lieutenant Forbes proceeds to call Bruce and his confessed funding of Batman recklessness, and goes on to tell Bruce what he thinks he knows about the whole deal. Forbes believes that even someone with Bruce’s resources would need help from within the Gotham Police Department to be able to pull off the logistics of funding “Batman and his cronies”; he is sure that it must be someone high up, and he wants to know who. Just as that run-in is really heating up, Bruce is saved by the bell, when Jaina Hudson interrupts the two loudly talking gentlemen, to ask if there is a problem. Miss Hudson is, as she puts it, the “impromptu hostess” for the evening’s soiree, and she is also extremely beautiful, and goes on to do some Grade “A” flirting with Master Bruce. I get the feeling we haven’t seen the last of Miss Hudson, although, she only appears in that one scene, here in this issue.

Jaina Hudson

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Once the story transitions from the bright lights and high class atmosphere of the charity function, the action really starts to pick up, and the rest of the issue reads like a remixed opening for the “Batman: Arkham Asylum” video game. Once again, there is a riot and a breakout in progress, at Arkham Asylum, and the security forces there are, of course, completely over matched and strictly trying to survive. Batman arrives on scene to find out there are 65 men, from Arkham’s security staff, trapped inside the asylum, at the mercy of the villains who call the place home, and Two-Face unaccounted for.  So, Batman and the guards he encounters outside rally together and go in to save the men trapped inside and find Two-Face. Upon reaching the maximum security ward, Batman spots an unexpected individual, who, as he says, shouldn’t be there. After tailing the mystery individual around a corner, we’re treated to a last page reveal of the man we’ve been looking for…  TWO-FACE… but this ain’t your daddy’s Harvey Dent! Believe that!

Now on to the art department!  I must admit, the art by David Finch is the primary reason I wanted to read and review this book going in, and I was NOT disappointed! In my opinion, Finch draws Batman’s new look as well or better than any of the artists who’ve handled him thus far, with the exception of the remarkable in his own right, Jim Lee, who also designed the new and current look for The Bat. Finch’s detail oriented style really captures all the details and lines of the suit beautifully. The backgrounds and settings are all well rendered with great detail, and they set the stage for his pencil work on the characters. The action sequences are all very well done, and Batman is a straight forward, efficient, and brutal fighter. Alex Sinclair’s colors are on point and keep things dark and moody, like most good Batman is.

 

Time to get down to business, and talk story and writing, people. The plotting by David Finch and Paul Jenkins is solid. The story and premise was very good overall.

 

Considering how well done and popular the “Batman: Arkham Asylum” game was, it’s not a bad place to draw an idea or two from. The last part of the book, where everything was happening at Arkham, was kind of similar to the game’s storyline, except they we’re after Two-Face, instead of The Joker. Paul Jenkins’ writing and dialogue was good. Nothing spectacular, but he manages to give the characters personality, and the entire early part of the book, including the intro and all the events and interactions at the charity ball were very well written.

All in all, I give this NEW premier of Batman: The Dark Knight #1 a thumbs up. I enjoyed reading it very much. The art is top quality… me being a huge David Finch fan certainly didn’t hurt either… HeHeHe. If you like Batman and like your Batman a little more down and dirty than the other Batman titles, this one may be the one for you. I’ve read all the Bat-people books from the New 52, and I liked this issue and Detective Comics #1 the most. Batman and Robin #1 was decent, too.

 

All images are property of Warner Bros. and DC Comics.

STATUS (31 Posts)

James “STATUS” Eaddy is a freelance writer, who enjoys Readin', Writin', and Doin' Stuff! Along with Joe’l Williams, he is also the co-creator and writer of, the upcoming comic book property and characters, “The StreetKeepers”.