In comics, the first issue generates a lot of excitement for readers and is supposed to do many things. For example, it is supposed to draw readers in, set the tone for the story and prepare the reader for what they are going to see in future issues. First issues are supposed to be exciting as well as informative. Unfortunately, Batman #1 has the basics, but not the feel of a successful first issue.
“Batman #1” is written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion. Snyder is a great writer and gives an interesting perspective about how the citizens of Gotham seem to define their city by either Batman or his villains. Some calling it damned while other call it Batman’s city.
When the issue begins with a breakout of Arkham Asylum and Batman goes into stop them, but also gets help from a very unlikely ally. While most of the villains are recognizable and it is nice to see the other members of Batman’s rogues gallery, there are some that would be unrecognizable if readers hadn’t read the “Batman and Robin” books before the reboot. While the majority of them look the same, two villains in particular, the Riddler and Two-Face, look awkward. The Riddler now has a green mohawk and has question marks tattooed on his head and looks more like a henchman of the Riddler. Two-Face looks like he is wearing a mask of burnt skin rather than having actual burnt skin.
After the attempted break out we see Batman talking to Jim Gordon and from the way they are talking to each other it is just like things before the reboot where as the police trust Batman. While it is nice to see, it is a little confusing because in Detective Comics and Justice League the police consider Batman an enemy except for Gordon. While in this issue, he talks to not only Jim, but another cop named Harvey who acts the same way towards Batman as Gordon does. Action Comics and Detective Comics used to show Batman in the early stages of his career, but this book shows Batman at present time.
This would explain why the Gotham City Police Department are after Batman in Detective Comics but are not in this book. Also, this idea is supported when we see Dick Grayson, the first Robin but now Nightwing, Tim Drake, the third Robin now called Red Robin and Damian Wayne, the current Robin, all with Bruce at a party. This answers some questions regarding the timeline of “New 52” as a whole.
We also see a very different, much lighter Bruce Wayne. Ever since “The Return of Bruce Wayne” and “Batman Inc.” Readers saw Wayne realize that family is important and started believing in the good of people again. Readers have not seen Wayne be optimistic in a long time, which is refreshing to see him act this way.
While this is a first issue and does things that a first issue is supposed to do, it did not have the same feel as other “New 52” first issues such as “Action Comics” or “Justice League.” It feels like another Batman issue and not a number one. The art is not that great, the faces and hands are very exaggerated and the sketchy style is something to get used to.
Snyder is one of those writers that keeps you interested and wanting to know more, which will be interesting to see where the story will go in future issues. Readers will just have to see what happens as the story goes on.