DC 52 Review: 2 Bats and a Grifter add up to a strong week 3 for this relaunch

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Batwoman #1

Knowing very little about Batwoman, and feeling a bit unsure of my own opinion on this issue, I wanted to check out some other reviews. As it turns out, this issue is getting great feedback – and it probably deserves all of it. It is well written, beautifully drawn and colored, and chalked-full of potential. I think, perhaps, my own hesitance to give Batwoman #1 a raving review is that this is the type of number one issue that is a lot easier to absorb for old-hand readers of Detective Comics, where Batwoman has been a frequent guest character.

There was a LOT going on in this issue. Not only do you meet Batwoman, a character positively brimming with personality, you are also thrust into the deep end of a large amount of background information coming at you from every angle (which actually confused me as to what actually changed from her ongoing storyline during the switch into this “new reality”). On top of all this there is a ghost-story kidnapping crime that needs solved. It’s a lot to take in for a new reader. But J.H. Willaims and Haden Blackman do a decent job of pacing this information and working it into the developing plotline in a way that at least assures the reader that once they become familiar with the progressing Batwoman storyline, then he or she will be able to sit back and enjoy a well-written, layered, and eventful comic book series.

The art is beautifully gritty and graceful at the same time. Images flow together in swooping color ribbons and yet the panels are still distinct and easy to navigate. The portrayal of Kate Kane is visually a perfect representation of her strong personality – bobbed flame-red hair, tattoos, a grave face that looks like it’s seen too much. I would recommend this comic merely for art lovers to appreciate even if the plot hadn’t held its own so well.

I have a feeling this book is going to appeal to a large audience and positively explode.

 

Batman and Robin #1

This is another spectacularly character-centric #1 issue. The father/son dynamic of Bruce and Damian is very distinct – which it had to be considering how much anticipation was around Damian finally being his father’s Robin (again, I’m confused – I suppose the old timeline crossed over here as well?). Damian is very much the stereotype of his generation – he is a know-it-all, self-righteous, and extremely disrespectful to his father. (No offense to those from this generation, just paraphrasing).  

Unfortunately sometimes one’s greatest strength is also their weakness. This characterization and dynamic was very clear and strong – but sometimes it went a bit overboard. Everything out of Damian’s mouth was horribly insolent. By the end of the comic he was even demanding to be Batman’s partner as opposed to his sidekick. Considering I think Damian barely has double digits in his age, that is either ridiculous or Damian is the absolute most arrogant kid in the world. Something happened to kill his idolization for his father and hopefully we’ll learn how that happened. I am also hoping to see Damian tone it down a bit and quickly begin to learn from his father so that I don’t feel like I’m babysitting an obnoxious child every issue.

One big plot evolution that happened during this issue and is worth mention is Bruce’s decision to begin to celebrate the anniversary of his parents’ wedding in place of continuing to mourn the anniversary of their death. I think this is spectacular. If we are really starting a new era with these New 52, then I’m happy to see some characters really start going in different directions. The “avenging his parents” plotline has been the brooding platform of Batman for so long that it will be nice to see him continue to show respect for what that past made him become, yet evolve into someone who can move past it.

 

Grifter #1

This comic book would make a great movie. I felt like I was watching a movie the whole time that I was reading it. Evoking this feeling can be both good and bad – The good: it was fast-paced and stuffed with action. The bad: It was fast-paced and stuffed with action.

Again, this comic’s strength is also its weakness. So much happened during this issue is was almost hard to feel anything over the stuff that happened at the beginning of the issue because you had read so much stuff after that point that it seemed lost in the shuffle. The other thing lost in the shuffle was any sort of characterization. This is the pre-view summary for Grifter:

Ex-black ops agent Cole Cash is a charming grifter that few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form – creatures only he can see!

I certainly did not get that character information in the actual issue itself. I knew he was a grifter. No idea he was charming. No idea anything about him except that he was being driven insane by these inhuman creatures. It’s hard to get a read on a guy when he’s screaming for voices to get out of his head.

I think, perhaps, this is another book where something is lost for new readers. Grifter is a comic coming over from DC’s Wildstorm line of comics and not in the original DCU. Considering this title starts back at the very beginning of Grifter’s career (pre-mask), I think perhaps it is an easier read for those who have an idea of who Cole Cash really is and who he will eventually become (which was not me).

That being said, this wasn’t a bad read. It was entertaining. I’m mildly curious as to where this is going to go. I am also interested to see how this character will eventually be worked into the over-arching DC Universe.

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