Well, it ain’t Legends of the Dark Knight, but The Dark Knight may just do in a world where the Batman family has gone international, and plots and story lines have created a mishmash hodgepodge of continuity that would drive the normal fan screaming into the night.

THE DARK KNIGHT #1
Writer: David Finch
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover Artist: David Finch
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

Lately, I don’t really know what to make of Batman. If he isn’t jet setting in Japan, he’s simultaneously in Argentina and Paris with Dick Grayson. And let’s not get the rest of the Bat-family too far in the spotlight as Selina Kyle is in both Japan and Gotham, Red Robin is running a multinational company while hanging out in Russia (or is it Korea?), and is Barbara worrying about being Oracle, or killing the database to the stars?

IT’S LIKE BATMAN FROM THE ’70s

What really puts The Dark Knight into a warm and fuzzy place for me is that the story takes it back to the street, a kidnapping case that has some very spooky undertones, that makes me forget about all the other bullshit going on in the Bat-titles at the moment. The opening issue doesn’t give too much away. We learn that Dawn Golden has been kidnapped and no one has any leads, least of all Batman, and to make matters worse, he’s known Dawn since the two were young children.

And what’s with Dawn Golden/Golden Dawn word play? Is David Finch trying to make a reference into the magical order active in the 19th and 20th centuries? Finch promised this book would go into a dark direction dealing with mysticism and demonology, so the name play does give readers a little nod that the troubled woman may be more than just a troubled woman. Especially when the Penguin shows up with Batman in the crosshairs.

While there are references to Batman, Inc. Finch wisely downplayed the tie-in to the larger DCU events, and except for the new suit, this feels like the tales of Batman many of us old folk grew up reading. The pacing and tone are just perfect for a dark vigilante of the night who makes his home in the city that is also dark and gloomy. Sure there is the whole “oh, a childhood friend he’s known for years, but is only showing up now” vibe might seem a little Hush-handed, but it doesn’t seem too far out of place as the Bruce Wayne history has usually been played on the down low so plot devices like these can be brought into play.

FINCH ON WRITING/FINCH ON ART

I don’t know how quickly Finch cranks out his art, but I’m worried that doing both the writing and art duties on this book will lead to quite a few delays – the second issue comes out six weeks after the first before moving to a regular four week release (at least according to the DC website). And the only reason I’m concerned is because I love how Finch handles the dark gloomy streets of Gotham and takes the time to make light and shadow work in the storytelling.

The layout works to keep the pace of the tale moving along, and I like how Finch breaks out from the gutter, and allows frames to overlap in the fight scene with Killer Croc to give the illusion that everything moves quickly. If I only had one complaint in the art of the issue, it would be in the color where some of the highlights and pings on objects and people seem to bee a bit too much for the light sources in the scene.

BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT

I’m not a big fan of Global Batman, nor do I care for Outer Space Batman, rather I enjoy the tales that involve a lot of mystery and detective work, and this issue does deliver that up… in a way. Batman and mystical elements don’t always work for me, which is why I’m surprised I enjoyed this issue so much. If I had to cut 18 books from my pull list and only keep one Batman title, The Dark Knight would be the front runner right now. The Dark Knight #1 is worth picking up and earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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5 Comments

  1. January 2, 2011 at 3:58 am — Reply

    Yes, poor old Batsyman has lost his way with all this Inc foolishness, but i’ll buy it for Finch’s artwork alone.

  2. RedneckTaZ
    January 2, 2011 at 5:27 pm — Reply

    Yeah, but as someone that’s been racked in the “daddy buttons” in real fighty-fights over the years, you have to apprecate the armored cod-piece on the uniform. Unless invunerability is one of my powers there’s no way in hell I’d be fighting supervillians where one knee shot to the jewels would end the fight.

    Unlike many changes in comics (change…BAH, HUMBUG) I am leaving the Batman, Inc. concept open for now. But I do agree with Stephen in this direction of Bats/Bruce in a solo story is a nice break for us oldsters who were geeks before it was cool to be a geek.

  3. Splicer261
    January 3, 2011 at 5:51 am — Reply

    i enjoyed this comic very much..it’s going back to good old detective batman solving a case.

    It’s simple and you don’t need to know any backstory to jump onto this comic..in a nutshell? none of Morrison’s crap (yeah, i don’t like Morrison’s take on batman)

  4. brainypirate
    January 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm — Reply

    If I had to keep only one Batman title, it’d be whatever JLA version is on the market….

  5. January 7, 2011 at 10:16 am — Reply

    But you know, for all the inconsistencies and uncertainty, the bat titles are pretty f’ing good right now. Detective kicks ass, B&R has been consistently awesome (this Cornel run is a tad weak but it’s a fill in and the guy’s a little over worked), Red Robin has been great from the start and fills the hole in our hearts left by Nightwing, Batgirl is fun and engaging, the answer to people who think comics are too grim these days, and while Squire and Knight and Inc. are a little unserious for my taste they are defiantly quality products. Personally I still have hope for Sirens and Birds, and Damian in Titans gave the title a much needed kick in the ass (they don’t quite write him right though).

    And as for GM, he takes you to Mordor, but you always end up back in the Shire. That line in Inc. #2 where Selina asked Batman what happens when the bad guys go after Bruce Wayne and he says, “You’ll see”, gave be a shiver of anticipation.

    And if it all crashes and burns, they can fix it with magic or time travel or something. I’m half expecting a “Who’s killing the Batmen” multi title arc in a few years similar to the last season of Buffy.

    We comic book types have a bad habit of being to married to our own expectations and them storming off in a huff when things don’t work out the way we want them to. I say relax and enjoy it.

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