Tom King's much-anticipated debut as Batman's lead writer did not disappoint.
Batman #1 almost picks up on the cues left behind from the New 52's end. Gotham is Batman's city and he will do anything to protect it and its people.
Yeah, we all know that already, but King's Batman seems much more content, level-headed and sure with each decision he makes; no matter the implication.
I'm not going to spoil the end or major plot point of this book, but i will say that the build to this first arc is done perfectly. Batman believes this is his city, he is not only willing to die for it, but he's come to grips with the belief that he will die for it.
Batman finds himself riding a plane like a mechanical bull as it careens toward Gotham. He has to nail it perfect to save the city and the passengers, but there is -- seemingly -- nothing he can do to save himself. He's plugged in with Alfred in what is a beautiful moment and a look at Bruce we only received hints at with the end of the New 52 run.
Bruce Wayne's dying thought and question for Alfred is if he thinks his parents would have been proud of the life he lived and if this death, was a good one. It's a touching look at the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Batman.
Both just want to do right for those close to them, so they can do right for someone else.
King's belief that Batman is the true hero of the DC Comics universe stands out (listen to our interview with him here), as his grip on what a hero truly is, is on full display.
Some might look at this as a straight-forward plot and story, but I think it's the perfect building-block for what is about to unfold over the next 4-8 weeks. (Remember, Batman is bimonthly)
While Tom King does Tom King, he is backed by the artistic team of David Finch on inks and Jordie Bellaire on colors.
What a combination.
These two mesh together in ways that not only exceeds expectations, but sets the bar pretty high right off the bat. Finch and Bellaire's capturing of the scenes between Jim Gordon and Batman is the standout aspect of this issue. That's no shot at the story; that's just how good the art is.
You can feel the tension with every word out of Jim's mouth, while you can feel the conviction and determination just as much from Bats.
The action is unmatched, the talky scenes are filled with emotion, conviction and a level of consistency that goes unmatched. This is what a good book does; it makes you feel like it couldn't work without these three connected pieces.
This is the same feeling that King and Mitch Gerads' Sheriff of Babylon does for me, so maybe it's a King thing. Whatever it is, it's working. Not much Duke featured in this one, but that makes sense by the end of the first issue. Also, hearing Bruce speak so highly of Dick Grayson in his potentially dying moments is heart-wrenching.
Rating: 9/10 Great starting point, cliff-hanger ending with Tom King adding a determined, almost at peace layer to the Batman aura. This issue is not to be missed, between the building blocks put in motion and the team of David Finch and Jordie Bellaire; Batman #1 is spot-on.