Review: Batman: The Dark Knight #1

Published on January 3rd, 2011

It’s been delayed for weeks, but  Batman: The Dark Knight #1 finally came out last week!

Both written and pencilled by David Finch with inks by Scott Williams, Batman: The Dark Knight is the last of the new Batman books since Bruce Wayne’s return a couple months ago.  The other new title, Batman Inc., focuses on Wayne’s globetrotting exploits training an army of Batmen worldwide.  Batman: The Dark Knight is a darker book that focuses more on Wayne’s solo Batman work and, as DC Comics says, “…the more supernatural and esoteric areas of Gotham City.”

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The first story-arc of this series revolves around another childhood friend of Bruce’s named Dawn Golden.  This issue’s story is fairly simple: now that they’re adults, Golden has been kidnapped and Wayne is determined to find her.  His search leads him to Killer Croc (they don’t explain how Batman figured out that Croc was involved) who has been taking a street version of Bane’s Venom toxin.  Batman beats the holy Hell out of Croc, who tells Batman that he kidnapped Golden off the street and then says that he, “…could tell she wanted it.  I just gave her what she wanted!  Afterwards she was pretty upset.”  They don’t come out and say it, but that sounds an awful lot like rape.  He then tells Batman that he sold Golden to a man named Lars Beck.  Commissioner Gordon later tells Batman that Beck was fished out of the Gotham River earlier that morning.

Meanwhile, a group of homeless men are talking about how one of their friends has gone missing.  One of them thinks that something horrible has happened to the missing man.  Moments after one man leaves to relieve himself, the other homeless men hear him screaming in agony.  They rush to his location to find only his grisly remains.

Later on, Batman goes to investigate a club called the Boom Room, that Beck used to work out of.  He opens a safe to find a necklace that used to belong to Dawn Golden.  While Batman is preparing to get the necklace back to the Batcave for analysis Alfred tells Batman that the Batmobile has just been hacked into.  Batman is about to express his shock at the news when Penguin and his goons break into the room with guns drawn on Batman.

This issue was really straight forward and a bit simple, but that can be expected of a first issue.  The whole feel of the book was a bit reminiscent of Hush, with the new character from Bruce’s childhood.  Finch’s writing felt kind of simple with a “track down the kidnapped girl” plot, but again, I think that this book is building up to something much bigger.

Finch’s art, on the other hand, is totally what made this book.  I’m not really the biggest fan of his, but Finch’s style is tailor made for Batman.  It’s really dark and gritty and he adds a lot of detail to all of his pages.

So, all in all, Batman: The Dark Knight #1 wasn’t really the greatest comic book ever written, but it wasn’t bad.  It has a lot of potential to become something really big and great.  If for nothing else, pick up this book for the dynamite art.

Ian Candish
Ian@ComicImpact.com