I know what you’re thinking. FaZe clan is an esports organization that has nothing to do with Batman or comics. This is clearly just a promotional issue, a glorified advertisement; why are you bothering to review it? Well DC decided to put it on shelves and sell it at full price for $3.99. That means that DC believes that it’s worth your hard-earned money, and that you should choose this over any of the other dozens of comics on the shelf. Well if DC is going to sell it like a real comic, then we’re going to treat it like a real comic, so here we go.
Batman, I know you’re the world’s greatest detective… but for this we’ll need the world’s greatest gamers.
This quote tells you exactly the kind of story to expect from the rest of the comic. This is unabashedly a promotional vanity project for FaZe Clan as a brand. What that means is that throughout the comic, Batman and his allies will repeatedly tell them how amazing they are. Batman even gives up a night of fighting crime so he can game with them. In return, FaZe Clan will repeatedly brag about how amazing and better than the heroes they are. It’s good to see everyone on the same page. Of course they would not be this confident if it were all just bravado. Most of the action consists of various bat characters failing, and then a member of FaZe Clan saving the day. They’re very impressive.
What can I say about the guest-star protagonists themselves? They have all the charisma of a kid who got to be on TV for winning a contest. I want to be clear that I know next to nothing about the real life members of FaZe Clan. I’m sure they’re lovely people. However their characters here seem to have no purpose other than posing and spouting bad one-liners that reference gaming.
The art has a professional quality, but at the same time it feels creatively lazy. The coloring is bright and the line work generally keep action scenes flowing nicely in a way that’s pleasant to look at. That being said, There is nothing visually interesting on any of the pages; it’s all very bog standard fight scenes that you’ve seen before. The superhero outfits that FaZe Clan get aren’t terrible, even if they remind me a lot of the Backstreet Project from 2000, where the Backstreet Boys had a short-lived superhero comic (which is honestly a very appropriate comparison, except they had a Burger King toy tie-in, of which I had the Kevin action figure, so one extra point to the Backstreet Boys.) The faces on the FaZe Clan members however are very distracting. It’s very clear they were drawn with direct reference from photographs, which always produces a bit of an uncanny valley effect, especially when placed next to “normal” comic characters.
The plot itself makes very little sense and is a loosely stitched together series of challenges that give everyone something to do. It’s kind of structured like a video game, which I suppose is appropriate, but doesn’t really work if it’s supposed to be a scenario constructed by The Riddler where he wins. I know of all the villains, The Riddler is the one who intentionally leaves ways for the heroes to defeat him. In fact the idea of Riddler using video games to challenge Batman isn’t even unprecedented. The Riddler from Batman: The Animated Series was a former video game developer that incorporated that into his schemes; the episode What Is Reality? even had him forcing Batman to put on a special headset to enter his VR video game (look, it was the early 90s and everyone was still really impressed with computers.)
However in all of these instances he does that to show how much smarter than everyone else he is. The plans involved riddles, hence the name. Here he just constructs a series of moderately challenging fights that award tokens. The rules of the fights don’t even make sense, since Oracle can just Matrix up whatever abilities she wants, which The Riddler can sometimes take away. After he’s defeated by being pulled down by ropes in the game, Riddler cries out wondering how “the brilliant master of riddles” could have been defeated. Well if that brilliant mind had ever come into play at all as part of the series of fist fights he constructed, then it might have made a difference. At least we got this wonderful panel out of it:
- You’re a big fan of Faze Clan and want to see them in a comic
- You don’t mind reading an extended advertisement
- The problem with Batman is that he’s not a gamer
Bereft of any creativity or joy, Batman: FaZe Clan #1 just a hollow corporate shell of a product designed to promote brand awareness. I’m sure you’ll be happy to learn that the FaZe/Batman-branded merch that is prominently displayed throughout the comic is available for purchase, but aside from that there is little to be gained here. The plot is a paper thin excuse to showcase how cool FaZe Clan is supposed to be, but just comes off as aggressively insistent. This is an advertisement through and through, but if they were going to charge money for it then they should have at least made it an enjoyable one.
DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.