James Tynion IV (W), Eddy Barrows (P), Eber Ferreira (I), Adriano Lucas (C)
Cover by: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Adriano Lucas
Publisher: DC Comics
“So,” you’re thinking, “how can you call yourself the ‘B-List Defender’ when you’re doing a review for a Batman comic? That’s as A-List as you get!” Well, it has Spoiler, Batwoman (which Microsoft Word doesn’t even recognize as a word), and Cassandra Cain in it. They’re all pretty B-List, so check and mate.
So, Rebirth has reached DC’s current archetypal super hero, the Batman himself. I’m not exactly expecting a huge shift in tone to something more upbeat. I wouldn’t want it. Batman (at least since the 80’s) has been a darker super hero. That tone works for him, for his rogues gallery, and for Gotham City. It makes sense. And, as I’ve said in the past, if a darker story works for a comic, then I’ll enjoy it.
This story opens up with Azrael (whom I am very happy to see back in Gotham) on the run from a silhouette shaped like the Bat himself. He is beaten and nearing death, then the real Batman shows up. The aggressor flees, and Batman spots and destroys a bat-shaped drone that was left spying on them. Azrael informs Batman that the person who assaulted him was Batman. The story turns to Batwoman, who is currently being informed by her military father that she needs to come back in and work with a unit. She chooses to ignore him. She is then visited by Batman, who fills her in on what he just experienced and that he knows that some unknown force is targeting the vigilantes of Gotham. He asks for her help uniting and training them. She agrees, and they track down Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Orphan (Cassandra Cain), Red Robin (Tim Drake), and the original Clayface (Basil Karlo), all of whom agree to join them.
This comic was very cool. In addition to having arguably the best rogues gallery in comic books, Batman has always had a very cool support cast. This comic being about uniting that support cast into a workable team appealed to me a lot. Tynion has been on a lot of those books recently, including Talon (who needs to show up again) and Red Hood and the Outlaws, both of which I enjoyed. This book continues that hot streak.
The characters are introduced and defined very quickly. Batwoman is out to prove herself. Spoiler is an intelligent hot shot. Red Robin is something of a well-meaning control freak. Orphan is an angry warrior. Clayface is a lost soul looking for direction. Batman is a good character to unite these types of characters, because they all reflect himself in various ways.
The Bat is good in this comic too. This shows his caring side, and the comic is aware of the underlying reason for his plan: Batman is afraid. That’s kind of a cool and unnerving idea for a comic story. Batman is this icon of the DC Universe. This kind of story humanizes him, and it makes him seem like more a person than an archetype.
The art is really good too. It’s detailed, the colors pop, and the fight scenes look really cool. The art team does a really good job of showing the emotion on Clayface, which seems like it would be hard to do for the big mud monster.
Clayface’s scene my favorite of the entire book. He broke out of Arkham, scared everyone out of a theater, and watches one of his own movies. He does all of this so he can see a glimpse of his old life once again. It’s kind of a heartbreaking scene, and it is staged very well. The comic is sure of itself, and it allows the moment to land properly. I love when a comic can pull off an emotional moment like this. I really like the idea of him turning over a new leaf.
Overall, this is a very solid start for a new era of Detective Comics and continues Rebirth’s streak of putting the best foot forward. Check it out if you’re a Batman fan. Check it out if you’re just a comic fan. It’s a great book, and you won’t be disappointed.
Final Score: 9/10