Wednesday, November 2

Batman: The Dark Knight #1 (Nov 2011)

“Night Terrors”

Wow, just last month I read and reviewed Batman: The Dark Knight #5. Of course, that series had gone the better part of a year from start to finish because of delays between issues – that severely interfered with my enjoyment of the story. Hopefully that won't be the case in the New 52 relaunch of this title. And, given David Finch's manly mea culpa delivered at Comic Con, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt (as long as there's no more bad Latin!). It can't afford more delays, though. Hopefully having Paul Jenkins aboard as co-plotter and scripter will help. Finch frankly said that he never knew how hard it was to write to a schedule until he gave it that shot.

It's another good-looking issue, with a couple of interesting developments, both occuring during a reception following an address given by Bruce Wayne, the subject of which was fear. Neatly, we first see snippets of his speech as if it's Batman's interior monologue as he flies across Gotham City and bails onto a roof, looking like he's going right into action – “Fear is a cannibal that feeds upon itself. … You are the one who gives it life. … You are the parent of your own fear” – then changes into a tuxedo and zip-lines into an adjacent building where we next see him finishing up: “... I'm not cut out to be the parent of a cannibal. … I am never afraid. And I never will be.”

But immediately afterward, he is blindsided by one of the Gotham City PD's internal affairs investigators, Lt. Forbes, who is looking for Wayne's obvious help from inside Gotham PD. Bruce looks none too happy, and surprisingly at a loss, but is rescued by a beautiful young woman, an “impromptu hostess” of tonight's charity event, one Jaina Hudson. I'm sure we'll see Forbes again, though. 

But I want to focus on Jaina – who wouldn't? – because wow, she is beautiful  or rather the implications of their exchange on Batman's career time-line in the New 52.  Bruce tells her he knew her father back before he was posted as a diplomatic attache to Mumbai, where he would meet and marry Jaina's Bollywood actress mother. “You must have been very young,” she tells him. No kidding! The impression we get is that Bruce knew Tom Howard when they were both already at least young adults, and the latter already had some kind of career, so let's say early twenties? This young lady can't be less than eighteen – first off, her appearance, and second she'd better be! – which puts Bruce at the very least in his very late thirties. Personally, I have no problem with that, and a fifteen or more year career as Batman … but I don't think that's what DC's going for in the New 52. See my previous ruminations on Batman's career and the problem of the four (or five) Robins … It's interesting, at the very least.

Anyway, by the end of the reception, a situation has developed at Arkham Asylum … a mass uprising with 65 security guards trapped inside with a host of the savage inmates. Batman appears and leads reinforcements in, where as they fight their way in toward where Batman is looking for Two-Face – I missed exactly why – they encounter a scantily clad young woman pracing around whose scanty clothes are in fact a bunny suit (?!), then they come up against Two-Face himself … except he looks like he got ahold of some of Bane's Venom Steroid Juice and is “Hulked up.” “TWO-FACE NO LONGER, BATTY BOY. … YOU CAN CALL ME ONE-FACE NOW.” – Next: Anarchy at Arkham Asylum.”

So now both Joker and Two-Face have undergone some rather drastic transformations in this New 52.  (Making Joker "No-Face"?)  It'll be interesting to see where this goes … but I'm more interested in the two subplots that are introduced in the reception described above. The internal investigation that may reveal Gordon's relationship with Batman, and, well, yet another lady come into his life.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

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