When the New 52 reboot was announced, my entire world imploded. How would I determine what was canonical? Would this mess up the entire timeline? Were the new writers going to mess everything up? Were they starting from scratch? Were they going to reinvent Batman? Thankfully, it’s turned out to be much better than I expected.
The issue starts with Batman trying to escape from a mass of his villains that includes Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, The Riddler, and Killer Croc. Then The Joker starts helping Batman fight.
Yeah, I know. It’s weird. The reason for this is a really cool twist that I won’t ruin for you. You should read it. Because it’s awesome.
While at a white-collar party at the Wayne Manor, Bruce announces a new initiative by Wayne Enterprises to invest in the city. Among these plans, as Alfred informs us, is to build new Batcaves of sorts all over the city. While at the party, Bruce catches from Gordon via one of his toys word about a murder. So he excuses himself and checks it out as Batman.
A John Doe has been murdered with numerous stab wounds, all missing vital arteries, presumably to enable more suffering. Batman does some detective work, and finds a message left by the victim: Bruce Wayne will die tomorrow. He also gets the DNA result back, presumably from the killer. The result is quite shocking, and again, I’ll leave it to you to find out. Read it. Because it’s awesome.
The issue was quite impressive. As with all good comic books, it ended too soon. I wanted more. The areas where it’s left lacking are few and far between. I really can find only one flaw, and it’s quite minor. Before the party, it shows Bruce, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Damian all get dressed up. Why do we need all of them? Dick is helping Bruce at the beginning so I’m assuming he’s going to play a part in future issues. Damian is the new Robin so maybe he qualifies, but what was Tim doing there? The guy had like two lines. What was the point? It seemed like a forced effort to unite the old series with the New 52 line. Still, that’s pretty minor.
One of the most important elements in comic books is the art. I really like the artwork in this one. It’s dark and gritty, and I really like Batman’s costume too. It sticks with the gray and black color scheme (let’s forget about the blue and yellow forever, agreed?), and has the shorter ears, which have a much better (and more bat-like) look. This issue set a good tone for the series, and reminded us of one thing. No matter how difficult the road ahead, Batman will win.
Because he’s Batman.