In the latest of our comprehensive series of reviews of DC Comics' 52 relaunched titles, we take a look at Batman: The Dark Knight #1.
Who's it by?
Batman: The Dark Knight #1 is written by Paul Jenkins and illustrated by David Finch.
What's the history?
Batman: The Dark Knight is one of the youngest titles in DC's Bat line, having launched in December last year. David Finch worked on the title as both writer and artist, alongside such creators as Scott Williams and Ryan Winn.
The comic ran for just five issues, and suffered delays throughout its run. It wrapped up last month with the concluding chapter of the 'Golden Dawn' arc.
Batman: The Dark Knight is yet another Batman title that maintains pre-relaunch continuity. In this case we find Bruce Wayne dealing with the fallout from Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated, in which the billionaire admitted to funding Batman's activities.
Batman and Bruce Wayne appear to be the focal point of this one. There are no sidekicks in sight and Alfred only features in a panel or two. There are hints of a new love interest for Wayne in the shape of Jaina Hudson, and a long-time Batman villain is given a radical new look.
As per usual, Bruce Wayne struggles to balance his dual life, and an impending investigation led by a Gotham P.D official named Forbes threatens to make things worse. It's not all bad for the billionaire though. There are hints that a new woman is about to enter his life - diplomat's daughter Jaina Hudson.
The remainder of the issue follows a mass breakout in Arkham Asylum (the security in that place must be a joke considering how many times this has happened). Batman swings by to investigate and finds a bizarre figure stalking its halls. The issue ends when the Caped Crusader is confronted by a familiar villain who has been given a radical make over.
What's the verdict?
In addition to the excellent Batman and Detective Comics series, we already have Batman and Robin plus the numerous solo titles featuring the Caped Crusader's supporting cast. So the burning question is, do we really need another Bat title?
Based on the evidence at hand, the answer is a resounding no. David Finch and Paul Jenkins's Batman: The Dark Knight brings precious little to the table that wasn't already there.
If you want to see Batman locking horns with Arkham inmates, Batman #1 has you catered for, and the first issue of Batman and Robin does a good job of spotlighting various aspects of his Bruce Wayne's character.
The exchange between Wayne and potential love interest Jaina Hudson (who is drawn in a way that would make Rob Liefeld blush) is clichéd and cringeworthy, and his confrontation with Gotham P.D's Forbes fails to make a dramatic impact.
Finch's artwork is a saving grace. There's a dark edge to it, reminiscent of Todd McFarlane or Marc Silvestri, with good use of colour and shadow effects. It's just a shame that little else happens in the entire comic aside from a few awkward Bruce Wayne moments and an Arkham brawl.
In summary, Batman: The Dark Knight does nothing to justify its existence as yet another Bat title. Finch knows how to draw the Dark Knight effectively, but if you want to see a definitive take on the character Detective Comics and Batman are essentially all you need.
> Buy the digital version of Batman: The Dark Knight #1
> Read our review of Detective Comics #1
Watch The New 52 introduction video from DC Comics below: