Review By: Blake M. Petit BlakeMPetit@gmail.com
Quick Rating: VeryGood
Title: Knife Trick
Batman and sons join the New 52 with new tricks, new toys, and one very unexpected adversary!
Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Greg Capullo
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Letters: Jimmy Betancourt
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover Art: Greg Capullo
Publisher: DC Comics
A few characters went relatively unchanged when the Flashpoint Effect (whatever the hell that is) changed the DC Universe. In Batman #1, there are no drastic changes, no major differences, no sudden revelations that the whole world has changed around us. We just get a solid Batman story with nice action, a strong mystery, and good art. Things are off to a great start.
It begins with Batman in Arkham Asylum, a group of his nastiest enemies waiting for him, and leads to Bruce Wayne and all three of his sons (the non-prodigal ones, anyway) at a swanky presentation, before Batman is summoned to the scene of one of the nastiest murder scenes in recent memory. The search for the culprit provides a pretty shocking result, and a launching pad for a very interesting story.
Scott Snyder has an instinctive understanding of Bruce Wayne and the other men in his family, and a very good feel for Gotham City itself. He touches upon some of Batman’s most important relationships here as well, including Alfred, Gordon, and the denizens of Arkham. The ending is the sort of thing that could be horrifying (and not in a good way) if I thought there wasn’t more to it than presented here, but the rest of the book is more than good enough for me to put faith that Snyder has a strong story in the works that can justify a conclusion that seems so absurd.
Greg Capullo makes his DC debut here, and his artwork is pretty good. His Batman is pretty unique compared to other Bat-artists. There seems to be a Frank Miller influence here, but the character is a bit more polished than the Batman we saw in The Dark Knight Returns – smoother, more streamlined. DC’s edict to make the characters younger is clearly in play here as well – Bruce, Dick Grayson, and Tim Drake are all younger than we’re used to seeing them (and, in fact, it’s a little difficult to reconcile this Dick Grayson with the one that appeared in Nightwing #1this week). It’s not bad, but it will take some getting used to. I like his depiction of Batman’s rogues, particularly the Joker, and I love his take on the Batcave. It’s big, spacious, and very high-tech. In fact, aside from the characters looking a little younger, the biggest difference is that Capullo and Snyder seem to have boosted Bruce’s already-considerable toys to an even more impressive degree.
I really liked this first issue. This book is easily in the upper echelon of DC’s New 52 thus far.