Written by Tom King & Scott Snyder
Art by Mikel Janin
Rebirth has an interesting approach at work. Both similar and dissimilar to the New 52. Opting to jettison what wasn’t working as well as keeping what has worked. One of those moments where history repeats being to keep Batman similar to what it was in the continuity. While Scott Snyder is indeed leaving, the main title is passing over to Tom King and Mikel Janin, otherwise known as two-thirds of Grayson, the best Batman book you ought to have been reading. That being said this issue has a difficult job. It has to reconcile the status quo changes of the Scott Snyder Batman run such as the sale of Wayne Enterprises to the government, Bruce’s recruitment of Duke Thomas, and cleaning the slate for a new run. In all of those things it accomplishes its job while also attempting to give a good adventure that gives a sufficient goodbye to Scott Snyder, while introducing King to the head of the lead book.
The plot of this issue isn’t ground-breaking, the Calendar Man returns with a fairly interesting hook, and while I can’t say he’s a character I’ve given much thought to: King and Snyder cook up an interesting hook with Batman having to deal with the seasons cycling through within days. At the very least it establishes a playful tone like the one King and Seeley adopted for Grayson and sort of played more nightmarishly in the Vision. Which comes down to Mikel Janin’s role in the issue. A large chunk of what helped define Grayson’s stylism and playful tone was the visual language Mikel Janin brought to the fore, which of course included reminding you that Dick Grayson was a handsome man. The same applies to Batman here. The playful stylism at work with the scene featuring Bruce doing pull-ups off the side of a helipad, while Lucius is outlining his successful attempts at restoring the Wayne fortune to Bruce are similar in that Grayson vein, and that alone gives me hope that this run will be every bit as good as Grayson.
Now in terms of moving plot forward, it’s not what you’re going to find. But sometimes that’s for the best. What you get for the $2.99 price is three creators giving top-level craft and a fun examination of a character as old as Batman, as well as introducing a recent addition like Duke Thomas to the table. While it is sad to see We Are Robin disappear along with Grayson, it’s gladdening that DC, Snyder, and King are willing to give the character a push similar to what Damian got during that character’s introduction. While Janin won’t be returning for awhile, this issue alone gives us a vision of a very different Batman from the one Snyder or Morrison defined during their respective runs, and it’s good to get in on the ground floor.
4 out of 5 Helipad Pull-Ups