The first thing that drew me to the title, besides it being a Batman comic was the artwork by Greg Capullo. The cover alone had me clicking the “Buy” button on my iPad, ready to dive into the experience that DC’s New 52 would provide me. After reading from digital cover to digital cover, I can happily say that I was not disappointed.
I mentioned the art first, because as a fan of comic book artwork I tend to be drawn by the images first and the story second. Of course, without a good story the comic is nothing but a pretty stack of paper; the old “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” quote repeating in my head as I type this. However, it is easier for me to excuse a less than stellar story if the art is well done, rather than read the Citizen Kane of comics with terrible art.
Luckily for me, Capullo’s work is just the right combination of bold lines and dark colors that really portray the shadow-like image of Batman. The work throughout the first issue reminds me very much of the artist’s previous run on the Spawn series, especially the first splash page that showcases the villains locked up in Arkham Asylum. It makes me yearn for an animated Batman that could have this similar style; it’s like a cartoon, but with enough realism to make it stand out from almost anything that has been done in previous attempts.
Moving on to the actual story of Batman #1, we are thrown right into the action, with Batman attempting to take down an uprising of all the escaped inmates in Arkham. I appreciated this because there really is no reason to waste time at the beginning of the story to explain who Batman is. He is such a pop icon today that no explanation is really necessary, so I was happy to see them skip the formalities and get right to business.
An unexpected twist arises when Joker makes his grand appearance, only to fight alongside Batman taking out all of the baddies of Gotham. I almost jumped out of my seat when this happened, because it was such a cool moment to see them reluctantly fighting back to back to achieve a common goal. Sadly this dream match-up is short lived, and too good to be true. It was a nice change of pace from writer Scott Snyder, and is hopefully only a small sample of what’s to come in the series. If the cliffhanger ending of the first issue is any indication, I believe this team will have readers everywhere eager for each exciting publication.