Batman: Batman is in Arkham to help quell a riot that has broken out in there, and surprisingly mid battle he enlists the joker to help him sort it out. Well all is not as it seems as the Joker turns out to be Knightwing who replaced the joker a few days previous, by wearing a digital face mask (as you do). Later in the book all the Robins, except bad boy Jason make an appearance as the Wayne family prepare to go to the obligatory fund raiser, I was also happy to see the sniping by Damien towards Tim is still going on, what once was annoying is now one of the things I love.
The fund raiser is a clever way of showing the main players in this new Gotham, as writer Scott Snyder begins to weave his magic. Greg Capullo's art is good but not brilliant although it does not detract from the story. A very satisfying first issue which sets up Batman’s new world very nicely, as Batman is my main man I had high hopes for this book and I wasn't disappointed.
Batman The Dark Knight: After landing on a roof top as Batman, Bruce Wayne emerges through the skylight to give a speech to a expectant group of Gotham’s rich and influential, it seems that this Bruce Wayne enjoys or seemingly enjoys been in the public eye. Why is he there well its all part of Wayne Enterprises revitalisation of Gotham City, a theme that seems to be running through out the Bat books. During drinks and while Bruce has several young ladies (4 to be exact) vying for his attention he is berated by a detective Forbes who is unhappy that Bruce is financing a vigilante like Batman, if only he knew. He is however saved by Jaine Hudson the daughter of a Bollywood film star and a US Diplomat, now there is definitely some chemistry between Miss Hudson and Bruce and I am starting to think that this new Bruce is a bit of a player. Unfortunately things never go as planned for Bruce as news comes through of a riot at Arkham,wait a minute is there something familiar here any one would think there was a new Batman Arkham game out. Batman is soon in the thick of things and helping a SWAT team move through the asylum, but not all is as you would expect and a old villain makes a shocking entry.
Pre the new DCU this book suffered due to the lateness of the last 3 issues, (there were only 5) but in fairness to Paul Jennkins and David Finch they have got off to a fantastic start with this one, lets hope they keep it up.
Batman & Robin: Its the new DCU and the dynamic duo are still fighting crime together, except that it is now Bruce and Damien not Dick and Damien, and all is far from well as farther and son have several unresolved issues. Damien is adjusting to working with dad, and Bruce has little or no trust in Damien’s ability to follow orders. Given his past experiences with Jason he is keen not go down the road of having a uncontrollable Robin on his hands, and we seem to seeing a more distrusting Batman in this book than we have seen in the other books. However, taking that aside its an interesting twist on the relationship between Batman & Robin and one I think I will enjoy seeing expanded, as I could never imagine working alongside my farther in any job let alone crime fighting without falling out big time. The main bulk of the story centres around Bruce who has decided to let go of the past by not marking the death of his parents every year, and instead he will celebrate their wedding anniversary thus changing his outlook by celebrating life and not death. A point that is seemingly missed by Damien, who cannot understand why anyone would want to connect to their past be it by mourning or celebrating them.
The action is ramped up when Batman & Robin attempt to foil the theft of nuclear rods from Gotham University (the most dangerous thing we had at school was a Bunsen burner), unfortunately all does not go well as the thief’s meet an unpleasant end thanks to Damien’s recklessness. Although the last panel of the story, does give an indication that all may not be as it seems with the thief’s deaths. The first two pages and the last two pages seem to be linked to the resent Batman inc story line, as a Russian Batman meets a sticky end to a yet unknown villain. This is a solid start by Tomasi and the story moves along at just the right pace, this for me is not the best of the Bat books but it is still worth the money you pay for it. If you are unsure if it’s for you stick with it, as it will be one that grows on you and I look forward to see where the relationship between Damien and Bruce is heading.
Knightwing: Dick Grayson is once again Knightwing and although I enjoyed his time as Batman for me this is where he sits best, the new costume looks fantastic especially in the panels where you see him swinging above the streets of Gotham. I am glad that his time as Batman is still in continuity and keeping his time as Batman is a nice nod to the last 18 months of comics we have just read, as for the opening story well its a return to Dicks past as the circus where he grew up is in town. Its the first time since Dicks parents were killed that the circus has returned to Gotham, and Dick has been putting off visiting his old friends and after nights of agonising he eventually decides to pay them a visit. The circus scenes are very well written as Dick interacts with the people he once knew, it also gives you a little glimpse into the world Dick used to inhabit as a boy and clearly still misses. When he is challenged to go on the trapeze he begins to show a level of skill that clearly makes the circus troop look in wonder, and the look on Dicks face is one of sheer joy as he swings through the air. However, he quickly realises that he is probably a little too good, and quickly fakes a fall to make it look like he had lost some of his old skills.
As this is happening the villain of the piece rolls into town by bus and is met by two Gotham thugs, unfortunately for them they have picked on the wrong man and they are quickly and brutally dispatched. This new guy is no amateur and seems to have a grudge against our Mr Grayson, so much so that he is prepared to kill innocents just to get his attention. His hand to hand battle with Knightwing is a joy to read and look at and he seems to have the upper hand, which is no mean feat as Knightwing is one of the top heroes in the DCU who has gone toe to toe with some of the best of the worst. The fact that he also seems to know that Dick is Knightwing is an interesting twist, and I wonder how much he does know about the Bat family.
I for one am glad to see this book back, and look forward to many more issues to come.
Justice League International: The United Nations have put together a multi national task force and called them Justice League International, so far the team consists of Booster Gold, Fire, Ice, General Iron, Red Rocket and our very own Godiver. Now as Lady Godiva is best know for riding around the streets of Coventry in her birthday suit, I was interested in what her power would be and at the end of the issue I still don’t know. The one thing I am sure of is that its not incapacitation by nudity, we can leave that sort of thing to the book Voodoo (read review below). Booster Gold is nominated as the JLI leader although to be fair at first he thinks he is joining the main Justice League, and doesn’t hide his disappointment well when he finds out he isn't. Guy Gardener quits when he learns Booster is to be leader, and although his attitude is typical Guy its slightly at odds with how he is portrayed in the GL Corps book, but then if you don’t read both titles you would not know. Batman for reasons only known to him joins the team uninvited, and I wonder how he has the time to be on two JL teams and appear in his own 5 titles, but hey this is comics so I will cut the Bat some slack. There is a Max Lord substitute in the character of Andre Briggs, Max Lord was in charge of JLI when I used to read them in the early 90’s and a part of me would like to see him here. I am unsure of how much of Brightest Day is still in continuity and that may have figured in Max Lord not been in this book, we will have to wait and see as the book develops over the coming months. As for the plot the team are sent to investigate the disappearance of a UN research team in Peru, and its not long before the team find out the reason for their disappearance. As they are first attacked by what appear to be mud men, and just when you think they have the upper hand the final page reveals the true menace our would be heroes will be facing. I wont spoil it for anyone by revealing what it is, but it had this lover of the original JLI jumping for joy because this villain could have come straight out of those 90's influenced pages.
I read the JLI in all its formats when it was first out, and after the resent JLI Lost I was particularly looking forward to this book. The first issue is a strong start and it didn't disappoint on any level, I enjoyed this new JLI as much as I enjoyed the original team.
Voodoo: Now if you like your woman or technically shape shifters big busted and scantily clad then this is the book for you, now I fall into two of the above category’s (not the shape shifter one I may add) but for me this book was a vast disappointment. I am not familiar with the character of Voodoo so I’m not sure if this is the same interpretation of the character that went before, but from what I read in this first issue I won’t be sticking around to find out. Now I am no prude but I found most of the scenes in the book to be titillation (excuses the pun) just for the sake of it, and for me none of the excessive flesh bearing panels helped to drive the story forward any more than it would if they had been left out or at least toned down. The first issue of Catwoman caused a bit of controversy across the net for her final scene with Batman, well that was nothing compared to what’s in this book. I will not dwell upon the plot and if you want to buy it, you can then make up your own mind without too much influence from me.
Not one for me guys sorry.