Batman: Arkham Knight #1
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK…
Reviewing ‘Batman: Arkham Knight' # 1 by Peter Tomasi, Viktor Bogdanovic, Art Thibert and John Rauch.
As someone who usually avoids comic books that are tied into video games, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was actually a very good read. I picked it up purely by chance as a replacement for the non show at my LCS of Spawn Resurrection and I think I got a more than satisfactory replacement, plus, any first issue with Batman in the title should be an instant pick up anyway right?
Without giving too much away, the story begins with the death of The Joker (is he? isn't he?) and the lockdown of Arkham City. As Batman returns to Wayne Manor to get patched up after his battle with the Clown Prince of Crime, he has a brief confrontation with another villain who in turn becomes the first victim of, whom I presume to be, Arkham Knight, a RoboCop like figure with a similarily brutal means of dealing out ‘justice'.
Peter Tomasi, whose run on Batman and Robin features some of the finest writing of the character in recent years, has created a very entertaining story that can be read as a standalone Bat story as well as a game tie-in. It's a credit to Tomasi that there is more than enough within his story to appeal to non gaming readers such as myself, and, with multiple plot threads quickly established by him, this looks like a worthwhile 3 issue mini-series to follow.
The artwork is, perhaps, the biggest surprise here. Pencilled by Viktor Bogdanovic and inked by Art Thibert, there is a very Greg Capullo look and feel about it which, given the stellar work that guy is currently doing on the main Bat title, is high praise indeed. Far from being a pastiche however, the similarity in art styles, which includes some wonderful colouring by John Rausch also, gives the book a nice feel and a sense of being attached to the actual in continuity Bat-verse, even though it isn't, even as far as Batman sporting his New 52 costume.
The inevitable confrontation between Tomasi's brilliantly written humanised, vulnerable Bruce Wayne/Batman and this new cold calculating killing machine is one that certainly warrants picking up the next two issues of this book, as is the sub plot concerning the dead Joker and the secret identity of Arkham Knight. The writing is spot on and refreshingly relevant for a spin off book in relation to the Batman mythos (can Batman exist without The Joker? should Batman exist without the Joker?)
Overall, highly recommended.