The DCYou has begun! Will Bat-Mite be as wonderful as Bizarro turned out to be? Your Major Spoilers review of Bat-Mite #1 awaits!
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciler: Colin Howell
Inker: Howell & Andres Ponce
Colorist: Mike Atiyeh
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Editor: Joey Cavalieri & Jim Chadwick
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Bat-Mite: There is a Fifth Dimension, beyond that known to man. It’s a world populated by strangely powerful beings who model themselves after the heroes of this world, some of whom wear cute little bowler-hats. It is the world of… Bat-Mite!
We open in a courtroom, with Bat-Mite on trial for unspecified crimes. The judges debate whether to kill him (or, more to the point, whether to kill him fast or kill him slowly) before delivering the most terrible sentence of all: Exile to the third dimension. The tribunal passes sentence, intoning that the Mite is “someone else’s problem now”, which segues directly to a car chase. A group of criminals wearing fake OR scrubs is fleeing the speeding Batmobile, but it’s not Bruce Wayne at the wheel. The transition is a rough one, to be honest, and by the time they reveal that it’s actually Bat-Mite behind the wheel, I’m taken out of the story. Batman himself arrives, a kidnapping is foiled, and Bat-Mite is suddenly drugged by a woman in a nurse’s outfit. There’s a breakneck pace to this issue that wants to evoke the best screwball comedies of the Loony Tunes oeuvre, but it doesn’t quite get it together, especially given the appearance of a clearly dark and super-broody traditional Dark Knight-style Batman in these pages, and a special guest hero later on in the book.
THE GREAT BRAIN ROBBERY
I’ll give them credit, they’re really trying to think outside the box, but Bat-Mite quickly finds that he’s been captured by a villain named Doctor Trauma, who specialized in surgical reconstruction and body theft, and his sparring with her falls a little bit flat for me. When we discover that she already has Hawkman in custody, and that she’s now going to put her own brain in HIS superhuman body (since Batman and Bat-Mite stole the one she truly wanted) things are really disturbingly dark, even given the cartoony nature of the main character. The art does a pretty good job of balancing Bat-Mite’s squash-and-stretch Mite look with the existent world of the DCU, and even pokes a little fun at itself. The biggest weakness of the issue comes in the dissonance of a character who can warp reality in these situations, as Bat-Mite can ignore the effects gravity and change his costume at will, but can’t overcome a lungful of nerve gas. In a way, it’s a throwback to the comics of the Golden Age, but the lack of internal consistency is troublesome to me.
THE BOTTOM LINE: …WUT
The book ends up fighting against itself a little bit due to these issues, but the stated premise (Bat-Mite encountering other heroes to mold himself after) seems like one I’m interested in, even if it doesn’t really make an appearance in this issue. In short, Bat-Mite #1 is kind of a mixed bag, trying to balance the dark-and-gritty with the cartoonishly fun but not quitting hitting its marks this time around, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. There’s potential here, but only if the creators manage to find the balance between ridiculous and brooding in future issues…