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    Review: Batman: The Dark Knight #1

    By | September 30th, 2011
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Written By Paul Jenkins and David Finch
    Illustrated By David Finch

    The Dark Knight struggles against a deadly — yet strangely familiar — foe in this phenomenal debut issue from superstar writer/artist David Finch (BRIGHTEST DAY, ACTION COMICS)!

    As a mysterious figure slinks through the halls of Arkham Asylum, Batman must fight his way through a gauntlet of psychos, and Bruce Wayne faces the unexpected legal ramifications of Batman Incorporated!

    Batman is back again! It’s the fourth book coming out as part of the DCnU that gives Bruce Wayne a starring role, and this time it’s Batman: The Dark Knight from the creative team of Paul Jenkins and David Finch.

    Now – I, like Matt, am not the biggest fan of the character, but let’s have a little fun and see how I took to this title. Check beyond the cut!

    It should be noted, there are spoilers discussed.

    Batman is a tough nut to crack when it comes to me. As I said before, it’s hard for me to find him truly engaging since character work usually takes a back seat to punching the bad guys. There’s nothing really interesting about that. Scott Snyder is an example of a writer who can explore the character in the space he’s given, and elevate the character to heights he’s never been to.

    Jenkins and Finch cannot. It’s not to say they don’t try, but this book is such a generic Batman title; it absolutely bores me. The opening page starts with a monologue that you assume Batman is thinking while on patrol, but turns out to be a speech he’s giving at a symposium. His soliloquy on fear being a living breathing organism doesn’t even break new ground, as it’s something we’ve heard him say many, many, many times before. Fear is not a new concept when it comes to Batman. While, yes, the essence of the character is striking fear and criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot, it doesn’t really fit here. The soliloquy continues throughout the issue, up until the final scene, and when all is said and done, there’s nothing innovative or interesting about it. It’s not even fun. It’s just there. Batman’s talking about fear. In other news, the sky is blue.

    The really disappointing part about the writing (aside from the fact it’s bad) is the shotty character work on the part of the writers. Bruce has always been a bit uncaring in his Bruce persona, but in an entirely unnecessary scene between Bruce and a woman of East Indian descent, he talks down to her while hitting on her. She even points out that she’s gone to American schools since she was nine years old, but nevertheless coyly smiles at him, as if his condescending tone was flirtatious. It’s almost as if the writers don’t understand how women work.

    The plot is every bit as bad as the characterization, with one of the strangest endings in a comic in a long time; not in a “WTF HOLY CRAP AWESOME” kind of way, but in a “what are you even doing” kind of way. There’s a breakout at Arkham Asylum (again) and Batman comes to quell the escapees, but he’s met with more brute force while looking for Two-Face, who is now 9 feet tall and ‘roided out of his mind. Not only does he look like Bane, but also he demands that he’s no longer “Two-Face” but “One-Face.” No, this isn’t a MAD Magazine parody; this is presented with all the straightest faces in the world. An enormous Harvey Dent demands to be called One-Face.

    There is one interesting thread introduced in the book, and I will give credit where it is due. Considering the fact Bruce “finances” Batman, we meet an Internal Affairs Agent who wants to investigate the fact that there may be an illegal source at the GCPD. This is the one logical plot idea in a sea of horse manure.

    While David Finch is co-plotting with Paul Jenkins, he still takes out time to draw the book. I’ve never been a fan of David Finch’s art. It’s always been boring, with giant squinty face characters and same-face everywhere. This does not change in the new series; everyone continues to look exactly the same, with completely uninspired locales and generic Batman scenes. The women he draws look nice, but they still suffer from same-face, which ultimately leads to more boredom.

    Continued below

    This book ultimately succumbs to the same things that most Bat books suffer from: and that’s the over-reliance on the same themes of “Bad Guy escapes from Arkham & Batman puts a hurt on them.” No characters, no detective work, no real plot exists. If you want that, read the Batbook written by Scott Snyder.

    Final Verdict: 3.0 – Burn

    Gilbert Short

    Gilbert Short. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. When he's not reading comic books so you don't have to, he's likely listening to mediocre music or watching excellent television. Passionate about Giants baseball and 49ers football. When he was a kid he wanted to be The Ultimate Warrior. He still kind of does. His favorite character is Superman and he will argue with you about it if you try to convince him otherwise. He also happens to be the head of Social Media Relations, which means you should totally give him a follow onTwitter.