New 52 Review – “Batman #1”

The third round of the New 52 is now out. Alphabetical reviews start right now with “Batman.”

General Information

Title: Batman #1

Author: Scott Snyder

Illustrator(s): Greg Capullo (pencils), Jonathan Glapion (inks) and FCO Plascencia (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


Gotham is not one of the world’s nicest cities, but that doesn’t mean everyone has given up on it. While in his Bruce Wayne persona, our title character announces a plan to revitalize development in Gotham. Meanwhile, Batman is called upon for a highly unusual crime with a very disturbing suspect.

High Point

High, high, high… highest.

Low Point

The art is frustrating. On a two page spread with a variety of villains, it’s nailed, making every character immediately recognizable with or without their costumes. A few pages later, we see Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Tim Drake and Damien Wayne standing together without their masks. If they weren’t different heights, it would be very hard to tell which was which.

The Scores

On one level, it’s almost impossible to be truly original with Batman. The character is so iconic that his cartoon had no title card, and nobody seemed to notice. They knew exactly who he was on sight. The opening fight is an original situation, and I don’t think I’ve ever read Bruce Wayne taking such an active role in Gotham. (Note: my Bat history is weak, limited to Chronicles volumes from the 1940s and the issues on ComiXology. Still, ComiXology covers the last 115 issues of the title, so if he’s done this before in the eponymous title, it hasn’t been recently.) The last page bombshell is a good one, too. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork can irritate. It’s a style of slightly off model art with character shapes comparable to Ed McGuinnes work, but with much finer inking. I just wish the faces had a bit more detail. If you aren’t a villain, your face doesn’t really stand out. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is well formed. We start with a quick establishing mission, get a sense for the new status quo for the unmasked Bruce Wayne, and then move into the new mystery that really grabbed my interest. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization of Batman and Bruce Wayne is extremely well done. There are solid moments for the supporting cast as well, but none that get more than a character reflecting (if not character establishing) line or two. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is strong. I’ve never been a huge Batman fan, as I prefer less brooding heroes than he usually is. This take tones down the brooding and steps up the detective, which is enough to get me in. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow is very well done. I may not be a huge fan of Capullo’s style in terms of line work, but I can’t fault his storytelling. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s another strong first issue, from the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” pile of relaunch strategies. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Batman #1 recieves 32 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman

3 replies on “New 52 Review – “Batman #1””

  1. So if in this title they crank up the “detective” component and tone down the brooding, how does it compare to the actual Detective title?

    • Detective also has a detective aspect to it, thankfully. “Batman” is more of a detective with a tone akin to the latter prime time hours on a major network, while “Detective” feels more like something HBO would run in the later hours of their schedule. In “Detective,” Batman interacts with Jim Gordon and Harvey Bennett directly, with even Alfred appearing only as a hologram, establishing more of a “loner” feel to the book. In “Batman,” the team definitely includes Alfred, Dick, Tim and Damien in much more active roles, in addition to Gordon and Bennett.

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