DC Comics 2016
Written by James Tynion IV
Penciled by Eddy Barrows
Inked by Eber Ferreira
Coloured by Adriano Lucas
Lettered by Marilyn Patrizio
Gosh darnit i’m not a Batman fan but this may just rise up to be one of DC’s better “Rebirth” titles if James and company keep this up. After last issue’s recruitment drive it’s time to see drill sergeant Batwoman put the team through their paces. The opening alone is just all the right kind of wrong.
Basil, fighting as himself sans powers, seeing Stephanie honing her fighting skills, Orphan (there’s got to be a better name for Cassandra) trying to do too much and Tim kind buckling a bit under this kind of pressure. It’s really the kind of stuff you have to wonder about as Batman never trained his kids this hard before, yes he was hard on them but they all had natural strengths and abilities that served them well. However it’s the hard as nails Batwoman who’s doing the assessment on them noting what they need to work on moving forward. It’s kind of nice and definitely scary and all kinds of exciting.
Aside from Tim questioning Batwoman, no she’s not about to tell them her secret, and her response it is a much scarier Gotham out there right now. If indeed vigilante’s are being hunted where’s Harper and Bette? I liked the little touches here like after Batwoman swings away and we’ve heard about the Belltowers functions and Basil asks to borrow the device that kept his clay form in check and why he wanted it. This is the kind of characterization that sets apart good from great.
As for other characterization here, the talk with Bruce and Tim and then Kate and her dad just demonstrate a few things. One Bruce needs Tim here and he’s pulling out all the stops to manipulate into that happening. Kate’s dad is a jerk and doesn’t trust anyone named Wayne even if his sister is Bruce’s mother. Oh and he’s been spying on Kate unashamedly as if he’s her Alfred. It sets up the kind of conflict that will come between characters if things are all honest and on the up and up. Also it’s about time little Orphaned Bruce Wayne had his family closer to him.
I love Alfred and as blunt and sarcastic as he gets with Bruce it’s like he’s his personal Jiminy Cricket. Just with what I think and also with him having Tim Gunn’s voice and mannerisms. Leading into the end of the issue yeah. We get a lot of interpersonal characterization and information about many of them and some are great because they go back to pre-Flashpoint (Stephanie and Tim’s relationship).
Eddy and company have showed up not only to put their stamp on this but to bring it to places it’s never been. Basil’s human form is wonderful, Tim’s new costume i’m down with it. The flow through the pages and panels is spectacular. The attention to detail, the way different styles are used in certain places to highlight emotions and feelings. The use of backgrounds it just doesn’t get any better or more diverse and yet streamlined and gorgeous than this.
There’s so much potential here and so long as the lying and manipulation is kept to a minimum and Bats is more honest with this crew instead of furthering that paranoid loner who has been too prevalent than i’m more than okay with this.