First of all, I would like to thank Randy from Acme Comics in Peoria, IL for pointing out this week’s Batman comic was a standalone story not by the team of Snyder/Capullo, but serves more as a springboard into Rebirth’s own brand-spanking-new Batman book. I wouldn’t have rushed out to read this issue if I hadn’t found that out, so thank you.
This book is definitely more of a “fluff” story, nothing groundbreaking happens, Batman doesn’t die, Alfred doesn’t get his hand chopped off, nothing like that. But in spite of the fact that the book doesn’t really cover new ground in that regard, it still finds a way to have a heart- and that is what I appreciate most about this story.
It focuses on Batman’s past, from the time just following his parents’ death, to his time spent training to become Batman, and how he is learning to move on from that moment. As we know, he doesn’t “move on” in the traditional sense, no- he becomes a super hero. But we get glimpses of his life and the times and places that were so instrumental to his recreation, his rebirth if you will, as The Dark Knight.
The art on this book is great, the look of the new Batman suit it impeccable, with the ring of gold around the bat symbol just making it POP right off the page. The whole concept of the “list” that Bruce needs to move on and how he changed the idea of grief counseling to become a life’s mission was a neat bit of his backstory I don’t think we see often enough. The inclusion of Lee Thompkins was a nice touch, as well. Her off-the-cuff joke was one that had great resonance for the Batman mythos to come, as well.
The bad guy in this book, Crypsis was an interesting creation- if not a bit TOO familiar to the Ghost villain from Marvel’s recent Spider-Man book. Not that I mind, or feel that it’s plagiarism or any such thing- there are only so many characters, so many suit designs and power sets to jumble up before things all start to look a bit familiar. I do like the bright colors of the suit he wears though, I though that was a fun bit of disparity between Batman and the bad guy- Batman wears a black hat, while the bad guy is the white hat (to put it into VERY antiquated Western movie terms that haven’t been used in what- 50+ years???).
The line that hit most decidedly close to home is seeing Batman fight Crypsis in the rain and Batman is delivering a rain-soaked open-mouthed (the panel shows a full set of teeth on display) decree- “this is personal.” I loved how **SPOILERS** when Crypsis gets the notebook that young Bruce wrote to teach himself to become Batman, and Crypsis tries to convince Batman to team-up with him and sell Bruce Wayne’s secret as blackmail to fund an “army of batcars, or whatever you call them” was a great moment showing how out of his depth and unfamiliar with his surroundings and opponent he was.
I would have liked to see a bit more comprehensive list of the things Bruce thought he needed to do in order to move on. There are, in quite prosaic fashion, exactly fifty-two things Bruce Wayne needed to do in order to move on with his life; and we only got to see five of them. That leaves forty-seven steps in the “how to make yourself into Batman” guide yet to be uncovered; Which I want to read. I would love an “Idiots Guide to Becoming The Dark Knight” written by Batman himself. But that is neither here nor there.
This was a good book, and it serves as a nice, soft landing point for the main Batman series, but also as a means to give readers a look at the new and upcoming Batman- with his new suit, and the fact that Bruce Wayne is in FACT the man beneath that cowl again. This was an issue I was very much not considering reading this week, or one that I probably would have read anytime soon (because I typically trade wait on Batman) but I am glad I jumped ahead in the reading to check this out and see just exactly what kinds of things we have in store for the Dark Defender of Gotham in the upcoming Rebirth stories.