Batman #1, Tom King's first Tango through Gotham
Review by Paul Fiander
Writer; Tom King
Art Pencils; David Finch
Art Inks; Matt Banning
Colours; Jordie Bellaire
Letters; John Workman
Cover; Finch and Bellaire
Variant Cover; Tim Sale
Published by DC Comics
So after the co-written Batman Rebirth this is Tom King’s first solo issue handling one of DC’s most valuable properties. Batman himself is quite a malleable character and a writer of King’s caliber should have no difficulty bending the Dark Knight to his will. For a first issue this is certainly true as King flexes his creative muscles giving Bruce a battle that he has to use all his know how along with resources to solve.
Among these resources are his relationships with those around him namely Alfred and Jim Gordon. In a way these two men help define the way King approaches the issue. Alfred sees Bruce as a ward someone to care for and support. This is shown in their relationship through a few conversations where you get the older man’s paternal side shining through. Gordon on the other hand has a more utilitarian approach seeing Batman as a tool to get the job done. There are glimpses though of his frustration in a number of areas concerning their relationship that feel genuine and may become larger factors in the future of the series. However if they remain simply character traits then at least we will have a rich relationship to cement Batman to the real world of Law Enforcement.
The story itself runs by at a fair pace with Batman needing to make split decision in order to keep the people of Gotham safe in the face of a rather mundane (for their recent past anyway) disaster. I like the concentration on one issue with a goal that is easily decipherable between failure and success. It strips the character back and allows King to build him back up in his own vision in full view of the reader.
Artistically David Finch does a great job with the action scenes especially when showing the scale of the issue in hand. His facial acting works well through grim determination but this is a stress filled issue so he does not get to display a full emotional range. The fire trails though are something to make you smile and Jordie Bellaire as always shows why she can turn her colouring genius to any project and make it look effortless.
Overall this is a rather low key entry into King’s Batman but his choice of problem for Batman allows him the time to craft the man we will be hanging out with for months to come. In this way I think this series works well, It’s not fireworks and bangs instead its a insight and sets up what’s to come in a story driven way.