Batman: Rebirth #1 Review
Batman: Rebirth #1 is both interesting and confusing at the same time. More precisely, as a stand-alone Batman story (or, rather, the beginning of a new story arc), this issue is full of clues, dialogue, and mysteries that should satisfy both a new and a veteran Bat-Fan. But it is confusing if you expect this issue to follow the events of the very good DC Universe Rebirth #1 that came out on May 25. More on that later.
Looking at this issue just as a Batman title, with no expectation of a “Rebirth” connection, it works. A newer reader is introduced to our title character as Bruce Wayne the billionaire, as well as to Batman as a savior to Gotham, as well as to Batman the detective and long-term planner.
At this point, we are entering the “Spoiler-Cave,” full of details that may, or may not, spoil things for you. You have been warned…
Writers Scott Snyder and Tom King, and artist Mikel Janin, show different aspects of a very multi-faceted character. We see Batman facing off against one of the less well-known members of his Rogues Gallery, Calendar Man (and he is presented as very, very weird and scary), who has found a way to unleash terror and destruction on Gotham. Batman does his “savior of Gotham” routine, not once, but twice, in this issue, both times showing that he is willing to risk his life to protect others.
We also see him as Bruce Wayne, the rich business man, working with Lucius Fox, the man who really runs the Wayne empire. Here we see a somewhat cavalier Bruce, both in terms of how he looks at his finances, and in how he shows off his physical training, more or less while hanging around where people could see him. This scene strikes me as both necessary and as odd and out of character for Bruce. First, we see that he delegates pretty much all of his business dealings to Lucius. Good idea. But we also see an inkling of the “Wayne tradition” of helping others as Lucius talks about Bruce’s father’s way of seeing responsibility. This part is all good. What disturbs this reviewer is the dangerous work-out regimen that Bruce is undertaking at his office tower’s helipad. He is doing things here that only a trained acrobat or…The Batman…could possibly do and not get killed or put away in the looney bin. Really, where is the un-serious, semi-alcoholic, skirt-chasing, lay-about version of Bruce that many generations of Batman writers have presented as a part of Bruce’s “I am not Batman” camouflage? All it would take is one news helicopter to get video of him doing this crazy exercise routine for people to start putting two and two together.
Despite that, the story shows off a lot of the usual Batman items: Alfred, stately Wayne Manor, the Bat-Cave, etc. We also see Duke Thomas, a character who has been a semi-sidekick to Bats before, being made an offer. This offer, as we see, comes in the form of training and working with Batman and the introduction of what looks like a new, non-Robin sidekick costume/uniform.
Again, this issue is all about laying the groundwork for a continuing Batman title, so we expected a lot of introductory work here, and that is pretty much what we get. This is a book any Batman fan should pick up and read.
Now, onto the Rebirth connection. Well, as far as we can see, there is none. After reading the DC Rebirth #1 one-shot, a reader could have expected Batman to try to find out why that one bloody item (not saying it here, since you REALLY should read that comic) was in the Batcave, and the mystery of the three different versions of [insert major Bat-Villain’s name here]. But no, there does not appear to be any connection to that Rebirth comic here. Maybe in Detective Comics #934, which comes out on June 8. We shall see…
In conclusion, this is a good, solid introductory Batman book, with good dialogue, characterizations, and good, clean, solid art. And a creepy villain. That always makes the day go better. Seriously, though, if you like Batman, read this comic!
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