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World War Hulk

Batman #1
The Le (11/22/2011)
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Batman #1 Alternate CoverBatman is one of the flagship characters of the DC universe, so it's important that the core New 52 Batman book launches on a high note. With such high expectations, it's unfortunate that issue #1 falls so badly due to poor storytelling and uninspired ideas.

The book starts out with Batman fighting all the insane criminals in Arkham Asylum. It's very much a standard action-packed opening for a book, but then something extremely interesting happens -- Batman runs into the Joker. 

"Are you ready to do this?" asks Batman... and then the two proceed to beat the tar out of the other villains!

What's going on here? Why is Batman teaming up with his arch villain? Even Commissioner Gordon later mentions that the camera footage makes it looks like Batman's fighting alongside the Joker, to which Batman replies, "That'd be ridiculous Jim."

Then the Joker shows up in the Batcave? Wow! By now we're on the 10th page, and I'm very much interested. Is the Joker brainwashed? Is Batman Brainwashed? Did they really strike a deal, and if so, why would Batman strike a deal with a killer?

Alas the reality turns out to be a huge let down -- it's just Dick 'Robin" Grayson wearing an EMP mask (aka hologram mask). Wow. Just wow. There was literally a million ways they could have gone with this very interesting plot introduction, but they decided to take that route.

Batman #1There are two distinct ways to tell a comic book story to your readers. The first is to keep your audience nearly as informed as the main characters. In this case, if we would have known right away that Dick Grayson was on the inside of Arkham Asylum (ready to help Batman), then we would been very pleasantly surprised to find out Dick Greyson was dressed as Joker.

The other method however, used in Batman #1, is to keep the audience in the dark completely. This allows the reader to be "surprised" as the events happen, which is typically used to keep the reader more entertained. This is a great method, as long as there's a good payoff. But treating us as stupid as the the villains who also got fooled? That's a real letdown. You should NEVER treat your reader like they're stupid -- it's the reason World War Hulk failed so badly.

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Your Comments:
@Fox: I find that HeroClix World readers are a very sophisticated bunch. They love HeroClix, but they also love other things like comics and movies. So offering different articles that my readers will find interesting is an easy choice.

This site will always focus on HeroClix, but it doesn't hurt to give our fans other fun stuff to read about.

Posted by: The Le on 11/24/2011 9:41:07 AM
I don't really have a comment about your review of the comic books here, but I do have a question: why are over half of the articles on your Heroclix blog reviews of comics and movies and not reviews of Heroclix? I mean, I can't find anything here about the TRU GSX Phase 2 colossals or the latest from the Hulk gravity feed. Why not review those?

Posted by: Fox on 11/24/2011 6:02:01 AM
Thank you.
I know now to NEVER read your reviews again after reading your Batman number 1 and number 2 reviews. They were amazing issues, and your reviews of both issue were horrible, I'd give them an F.

Posted by: ComicFan on 11/22/2011 11:04:21 PM
I would disagree :/ Batman #1 has had one of the strongest starts. Considering that it is now "present" day, Batman should be having high-tech gadgets. If he used the old sleuthing tricks from back in the day, that would make him outdated. What's the point of Bruce Wayne having money, if he isn't going to use it towards his hero antics?

Posted by: Ryan on 11/22/2011 6:14:21 PM
Once I got to the Bat contact lenses I was done. I agree 100% with the author... completely lazy. It turned me off for the rest of the book.

Posted by: hair10 on 11/22/2011 11:06:58 AM
I agree with Tom, this book was very strong.

It almost seems like you are complaining about part of the story not being 'comicbooky' enough (6 pages of Bruce shmoozing), while in other parts, it's too 'comicbooky' (wtf gadgets). You are entitled to your own opinion, of course, but I really think your opinion is wrong in this case.

Posted by: Seth on 11/22/2011 9:11:45 AM
Suprised at how much you disliked this, I thought it was one of the stronger #1s...most of the new 52 started out pretty weak and even though this wasn't as good as Snyder's run on detective it was a pretty good intro to the "new" batman mythos. The only problem I had was the scenes with Lincoln and Bruce...they look and talk too much alike and that created a little confusion.

Posted by: Tom on 11/22/2011 7:09:57 AM