DC Rebirth is in full effect and for the third week in a row readers are treated to another introductory Batman issue; this one being by the new hot-shot Tom King, who has done amazing things in his run on Marvel’s Vision. With Detective Comics #934 receiving rave reviews and Batman Rebirth #1 receiving a more mixed reception, Batman #1 will decide whether this first wave of future Bat-books will be more hit or potential miss.
In a story entitled “I Am Gotham, Part One”, a terrorist cell called Kobra launches an air-born missile at a commercial flight sending it straight into Gotham. In the middle of a regular rooftop chat with Commissioner Gordon, Batman witnesses the plane get struck and begin its descent, forcing Batman to immediately jump into action. With the help of Alfred and Duke Johnson (the newly appointed Robin), Batman races to the scene; launching himself out of the bad-ass new Batmobile and onto the plane.
Through a very calculated and precise plan, our hero saves thousands of lives and is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in doing so. Just as Bruce and Alfred share a heartfelt goodbye, the plane is suddenly lifted up at the moment of deadly impact by two superhumans. These new heroes call themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl, they claim this is their city and they’re here to save it.
With as high as expectations were coming in, Tom King delivers a home run on his first Batman issue. This comic book was the very definition of an exciting page turner: impossible to put down until the final page. Batman’s absurd way of safely landing this plane while sacrificing himself and simultaneously revealing his contingency plans for the rest of the Bat-family was a perfect encapsulation of the character. Those who didn’t think Batman Rebirth #1 was enough of an introduction to new readers will find everything they were looking for right here.
Readers are also treated to some wonderful Jim Gordon moments as he does his damnedest to keep up with Bats and try to save lives. Tom King’s CIA background and experience peaks through a bit and couldn’t be more welcomed. All of the new characters are so intriguing and, on the surface, much different than any we had seen in all 52 issues of the previous Batman volume. One of the elements that made Snyder’s run on Batman so classic was the introduction of amazing new villains and characters; hopefully, King is able to do a bit of that as well. These new Gotham characters put Batman in a situation he has never been in before, much like the Court of Owls did to kick off the New 52.
Batman #1’s high octane story is accented masterfully by the accompanying artwork, with some truly unsettling imagery used to strike the fear of impending danger into the hearts of readers. Every step of Batman’s plan to assume control of this plane and get it out of harm’s way is illustrated in such a comprehensive way that it seems believable. That plan included a short but sweet look at the new Batmobile, which is a beautifully bad-ass homage to that of Batman: The Animated Series. Anyone that wasn’t sure how to feel about the new costume should be sold on it by now as we’re treated to some truly mesmerizing panels and pages in this issue. The colors in Batman #1 and dark, deep, but not overbearing; nobody should be getting stuck on any panels as the fluid motion of this book translates gorgeously from page to page. Moments like Gordon’s cigarette flying out of his mouth when the missile strikes the plane highlight the attention to detail readers can expect going forward.
Tom King’s Batman #1 is everything that it should be and even more, which should sink its hooks into anyone who picks it up. With DC double shipping and readers getting a new Batman book every week, there may be a fear of over saturation. That doesn’t seem likely, however, with this book tipping the scales into an overwhelmingly positive start to the new era of Batman comic books.