New 52 – Batman: The Dark Knight #1 review

Pretty pictures is all you’ll get from Batman: The Dark Knight, one of the worst written books in DC’s new 52. By all means, flip through it when you’re at the comic shop and take in the well-drawn Batman and heavily detailed backgrounds. The use of shadow is particularly good, but please, don’t read it. This is a poor-man’s Batman #1. Seriously, how did this get past the DC editors?

Just like Batman #1 there’s a break-out at Arkham, only this time there’s no surprise team-up with a twist. It even has a similar splash page featuring the same rogues clawing over top of one another to escape. There’s also a near identical scene in which Bruce Wayne attends a charity event and meets a character that’s sure to give him trouble in upcoming issues. What’s missing, however, is good dialogue, action, detective work, psychological insights into—basically everything that makes a good Batman story.

Now, forgive me but I need to spoil the ending of this book. I have to. It’s too bad not to be addressed. It’s one of those cliff-hanger endings that’s guaranteed to make any Bat-fan’s eyes roll. Remember that Arkham Reborn mini-series? The one that ended with a new character named “The Jester” showing up and he said he was Joker’s “evil” twin. Wasn’t that ridiculous? Well, in this book Batman spots a new villain, a scantily clad play-boy bunny who is responsible for the breakout. A breakout at Arkham Asylum used to distract the police while Two-Face, um, breaks out of Arkham Asylum out of, I guess the backdoor. Still with me? Batman makes his way to Harvey’s cell and calls for all those responsible to come out with their hands up. The whole book has a monologue about fear and how well Batman uses it, but in the end he just talks like a cop. Anyway, the worst thing in the book is the last page’s big reveal. Two-Face has been turned into a hulking beast (think Titan henchmen from the video game Arkham Asylum). So now Two-Face is 12 feet tall with super strength and guess what, he wants to be called “One-Face” from now on. One-face. Let that sink in.

These #1 issues from DC’s new 52 are guaranteed to be the best selling comics of the year. Each one will earn a 2nd printing. It’s got to be every writers dream to get this sort of guaranteed attention and if you get a shot at a Batman book then that goes double! So, how does someone write a script that ends with Two-Face saying “You can call me ONE-FACE now!” look back at what they wrote with anything resembling pride? How could a writer think that new readers giving the medium a go with the new 52 would pick up such a book and want to come back for more?

This is the worst Batman book in the new 52. Thankfully, there are plenty of other Batman comics to choose from with a real sense of direction and respect for the characters. I can’t recommend Scott Snyder’s Batman #1 enough, it’s a fine example of what a Batman story can be. The Dark Knight #1 gets a 3/10 only because of the artwork which although the artist uses shadow well and can draw a good Batman, does a poor job with faces particularly at the fundraiser scene.

Avoid this book.

SCORE: 3/10