Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: Batman, DarkKnight, DavidFinch, DCNew52, PaulJenkins, RichardFriend
Here it is – the final Bat comic of the new 52. Bruce Wayne gets another comic to himself, but I have a question – do we need it?
First – let’s do the maths. I’ve previously mentioned that Batman is in everything – but let’s just see how much? So first there’s four main Bat titles – Batman, Detective Comics, Batman & Robin and Dark Knight, then you have eight Bat spin offs – Batgirl, Batwing, Batwoman, Nightwing, Catwoman, Birds of Prey, Red Hood and (at a push) I. Then finally three books in which the Bat makes an appearance – Justice League, Justice League International and Justice League Dark. What does that add up to? 15. Almost 30% of the whole DC52. Add to that next month’s Huntress and Penguin mini series’ and that’s a whole lot of Bats. Which is good for me; I’m not complaining!
So how does Dark Knight measure up to it’s 14 other brothers and sisters? Well if Batwing is bottom of the pile, DK unfortunately sits just slightly above it for one simple reason – it’s just not original enough to stand beside the other titles. Maybe it’s unfortunate that this came in the last week of the September’s #1s, after the likes of Detective Comics and Batman, because on the face of it, this book feels like a merger of aspects of these comics, covering very similar plot points.
This isn’t a totally new comparison either. Pre New52, Dark Knight had a short and heavily delayed run by David Finch. I’ll admit that I didn’t get stuck into that series as much as some of the others, partly because of the delays and partly because I couldn’t see where it would fit in. There’s already a standalone Batman title with the main continuity, a Detective Comics series covering interesting cases and a team book with Robin – so a Bat book has to be something truly original like Morrison’s Incorporated to stand out from the crowd.
This new #1 had a lot to prove and there just wasn’t enough here to grab me – and I’m someone who’ll buy anything ‘Batman’ for Batman’s sake. The first portion of the book suffers from a long and boring conversation with Internal Affairs at a Wayne conference (very similar to the one we see in Snyder’s Batman) mixed with some unfortunately dull artwork. Things pick up a little late in the issue when we cut across to an Arkham riot (again – very similar to what we saw in Snyder’s work) where the colours do pick up and make things much more exciting, but there’s still nothing stand-out on the page that makes me go “wow” – even Bat standing atop a Police SWAT van is pretty dull.
The writing is a bit all over the place – the voice over dialogue isn’t as well crafter as Snyder’s and I was left confused as to why Batman burst into Arkham mid-riot looking for Harvey (Two-Face) Dent – in the middle of all this crazy, he seems determined to find him for no good reason. This leads us to the big ‘reveal’ ending, which I couldn’t help compare to the Detective Comics ending – I won’t spoil it here, as it’s probably the only slight saving grace of the issue – but it does leave the same ‘WTF?’ thought in your head.
It’s not like me to criticise a Bat-book or question the need to buy them, but I felt really let down with this one. My advice would be for DC to inject some original writing into this book, to distance it from the others.
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