Five years ago, the New 52 exploded onto shelves, and Batman #1 became a runaway bestseller partly because it was the first time the Batman title had a #1 since the first volume launched way back in 1940.
Every issue of the second volume then went on to sell quite well. Many of them landed somewhere in the top-ten each month on the sales charts competing well against #1s and big issues from the other publishers.
And now, as we say goodbye to the creative team of old, we are now in the thick of things with a brand new team for a brand new launch.
And — so far — it happens to be very, very good.
I wouldn’t say great. Not yet. The rebirthed Batman #1 is a solid book that’s on to something, but I’ll keep myself from jumping completely overboard until I see more of what the current team does with the title.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
That’s from Semisonic’s Closing Time — a song about leaving comfort zones and returning to stark realities. When Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo formally announced their departure on the Batman series — a partnership and run with an endgame in mind that was so successful, DC pulled out all the stops to keep it going for as long as possible — fans were crushed. It was time to face the inevitable, the reality of a Batman book written and drawn by a new creative team.
And while Capullo has already moved on, Snyder is still with DC and will continue to work on at least one Bat-title, All-Star Batman. In the meantime, and for one more issue, the soon-to-be-former Bat-scribe Snyder puts his flourishing touches on Batman: Rebirth #1, a one-shot co-written with Tom King, the incoming writer tasked with taking Batman into his next chapter.
That next chapter will likely involve incorporating Wally West returning to continuity along with an imminent showdown with the Watchmen. So far, Rebirth is grounds for both a return to form and a potentially epic storyline that will affect all of DC’s titles, henceforth.
Jim Gordon jumps out of the fire and into the frying pan, so to speak, as he tries to capture Mr. Bloom.
In Batman #44, Gordon was about to be cooked alive, trapped in an industrial furnace firing at 1,000-degrees. Relying on his ability to throw a batarang, Jim makes it out, slightly toasted and a bit worse for the wear. All he has to do now is fend off the remaining members of the Four Fives who immediately overwhelm him.
Sometimes the legend becomes so heavy, it drowns everything else out.
And after 75-plus years of amazing stories, the Batman series must be a challenge for any writer. I imagine the hardest thing about writing a new story is coming up with something that hasn’t been done before or hasn’t been done recently — something exciting that’s bigger and better than anything that’s come before.
Batman takes on another super-powered thug in Batman #42, and it’s beginning to look like a new villain has arrived in Gotham City to challenge the new Dark Knight.
Last issue, Jim Gordon took on the mantle of the Bat and fought against Precious Precious, a low-level thug exhibiting some strange powers. Issue #42 follows the same sort of trajectory with a similarly plotted story — Gordon goes toe to toe with another low-level thug who has somehow gained a powerful ability.
With the Joker’s virus creating absolute anarchy in Gotham City, Batman resorts to turning his enemies into allies. After venturing into the Court of Owls’ underground headquarters last issue, Batman takes a moment to obtain some of the answers he’s looking for.