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    Review: Batman – The Dark Knight #1

    By | December 30th, 2010
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Written and Illustrated by David Finch

    Comics superstar David Finch takes full creative control (both writing and illustrating!) on this brand-new Batman monthly series! Joined by the best of the best — Scott Williams — on inks, this new series is sure to be on everyone’s must-read pile! Delving into the more supernatural and esoteric areas of Gotham City, the 6-part storyline explores the horrific murder of one of Bruce Wayne’s childhood friends…and the terrible ramifications the brutal crime has on Batman’s life!

    A brand new Batman on-going begins – but is it any good? And with a title like The Dark Knight, it certainly has a legacy to live up to now with both the Frank Miller title and the Christopher Nolan movie, now doesn’t it? Find out if the first issue is worth it after the cut.

    One of the things that we as consumers have to admit is that there is a clear over abundance of Batman titles. It’s a claim not many are really willing to acknowledge, but the fact of the matter is that there are five Batman ongoing titles split between two Batmen, and all of which feature conflicting representations of the titular hero. It seems no one can quite agree on just how Bruce should act now that he has returned, and while Morrison instills a bit of light into the dark and others, while using Bruce as a cameo, give him a more happy tone, Bruce’s second ongoing brings back the dark. The only inherent issue here is that, in a world of “light” and “Brightest Day”, the dark doesn’t really fit.

    The Dark Knight features Batman pining for a long lost love who has recently gone missing. Despite his considerable detective skills, it appears Batman can’t figure this one out as easily, and he spends a good amount of time in the field swapping blows with Killer Croc and fighting the Penguin’s goons. David Finch takes the reigns as the writer here, attempting to fuse together the dark broodiness of Gotham with his take on noir fiction as it fits into the Gotham universe. The only issue with the issue is a lack of motivation. Bruce has certainly had a long line of lost loves, but with the story given to us in this issue it’s not much to care about (and the kite sequence is … odd). Bruce seems rather irrational here for someone who just took his mission global, and it’s something that Alfred as a character notes in the story. It’s hard to understand the reasons for this book (which, by the way, is filled with puns) within the context of the plot, because nothing about it seems like the “modern” Batman. I might have bought this as plausible a few years ago, but with the direction all the books are going in now – especially with Bruce giving Gotham to Dick – this seems a bit too little, too late.

    Of course, the department where the book does indeed shine is the art. David Finch is no slouch behind the pen, and his talent is not diminished at all by the writing. Often times good art can make a bad story better, and the art certainly doesn’t make it easier to swallow what is ultimately a forgettable storyline here. Finch has a tremendous amount of talent, and with this book you can see how time on a title like Moon Knight effected and influenced him. The book is a great visual treat of moody atmospheres and tremendous Batman moments sure to please fans of the character. Finch is great when it comes to big action sequences, and while this title assuredly isn’t as big as his last major outing (see: Second Coming #1), the first full page appearance of Batman is both a moment that rings true for the iconic character in his getup.

    I suppose in the end the way to look at it is the same as the main Batman title by Tony Daniel. The book looks pretty, but ultimately feels void of a solid storyline. If nothing else, it’s an excuse for David Finch to draw some kick-ass Batman stances and fight sequences.

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    The main thing any one reader should do is at least try out the different Bat-titles. Even Scott Snyder is writing Dick in Detective differently than others have. While a reading of a Batman title can be unimpressive to one (i.e. me), this might be the Bat-title you so desperately crave. If you’d prefer your Bat darker, then the Dark Knight is at least worth a browse.

    Final Verdict: 6.2 – Browse

    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."