Review | Batman #1

As a teen, I fell for Greg Capullo's art in Quasar, an obscure, cosmic Marvel title that was a cross of Dr. Strange and Green Lantern. His pencils were clean and cartoonish; all the men had small, bright eyes and bucket jaws, not unlike Bruce Timm's animated DC heroes. Then Capullo went to go work for the Spawniverse and, through McFarlane osmosis, his sketchings grew busier, grotesque and sinewy. They also had terrible Spawn writing slapped on them. He even did artwork for a Korn album. Ew. So I forgot about Capullo.

It's good to see him return to the mainstream with Batman, a title that allows him to meld the toonishness of his Marvel days and the heavy metal of his Spawn era. In one panel, Batman swings across a Gotham moon, rope spilling out of his ham fists. It's the best image of Batman we've seen in the relaunch. His costume is a lighter gray in the body, which I've always preferred to the dark, dark suits born more from the movies and video games. But enough about Batman. What makes this such a strong issue is the rest of the cast. Scott Snyder, already the company's greatest asset over the last four weeks, spins a stack of plates immediately. We get a mayoral candidate, Vicky Vale, three Robins, an ally detective, Gordon, Albert, a handful of baddies and, most importantly, Bruce Wayne. Too often Batman comics focus heavily on the hero persona. Marvel differentiated itself over the decades by giving equal focus to the maskless side of the heroes. Snyder sets up equal amounts of conflict for both Wayne's public and private personas, and lets us see Batman shoving a boot through Clayface's noggin. Compared to some other first issues, this felt four times as meaty.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)