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'Batman: One Dark Knight' #1 brings edge-of-your-seat excitement
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‘Batman: One Dark Knight’ #1 brings edge-of-your-seat excitement

‘Batman: One Dark Knight’ is edge-of-your-seat Batman comics with action, urgency, and street-level realism in a powder keg of a first issue. 

The much-anticipated Batman: One Dark Knight #1 is finally out this week, kicking off a three-part story written and drawn by iconic artist Jock. Released under DC Black Label’s prestige extra-size format, it’s a book that feels like a never-before-seen special occasion and a celebration of Batman. Given the story introduced here, that’s actually quite true as Jock introduces a breakneck story set over eight hours with Batman up against…well, all odds.

This is a book that telegraphs that Batman is going to have to get a bit beat up on the street level to survive right on the cover. Gone are aliens and supervillains of godlike abilities — instead, he’s on a mission to move a villain from one prison to a new advanced cell to better control his powers. Known as E.M.P., the character can draw power from things around him, not unlike Parasite, only E.M.P. seems to be tech-based and more human. The human element is present there as well as in the B-plot in the story.

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The B-plot involves Rita Vasquez, who is head of the Prison Bureau of Gotham City. It was her idea to move E.M.P. and that move just so happens to take place at the same time she’s receiving an award recognizing her initiatives to stop crime. She’s tough as nails, has a bit of a temper, and isn’t well liked by Commissioner Gordon. Vasquez is used well to capture the police side of the problem while also revealing the political underpinnings of why a villain like E.M.P. could ever get out of lockup. Something is up with her and her priorities, and it’ll be fun to see how Jock reveals this character as the series goes on.

Much of the first issue is devoted to Batman recognizing that E.M.P. may get out and trying to retain him after he escapes his prison van. With Alfred in his ear, Jock does well to capture Batman’s personality and the unique perspective of Alfred while most of the story takes place on the streets of Gotham.

DC Preview: Batman: One Dark Knight #1

What a gorgeous city!
Credit: DC Comics

While he’s on the rooftops chasing down E.M.P., the reader gathers there’s not much time to get him to his new prison which will dampen his powers and Batman is very much on his own. By the end of the issue, the powder keg is set as Batman must push himself to the limit to transport E.M.P. and save Gotham from a forever blackout.

The art is without a doubt some of Jock’s best work ever. Paired with Clem Robins on letters–who is great at emphasizing words and word balloons–the book has grit and an edge that makes it feel real. The city scenes, for instance, have a photorealistic look with great use of color to create a sense of street light. Jock makes sure we see down a street when E.M.P. is running and puts extra effort into details like bricks on a building or the fire escapes running along with them.

In one key moment, Batman runs along with a fire escape, and a young boy looks on in shock. A panel right after shows him fall backward from the window as the curtains rustle adding a human element. Although the emphasis on the boy is led to a reveal, this scene also reminds us real people are in these apartments looking on in awe and fear.

This issue primes the story for what could be one of the most intense street-level Batman stories ever. On the reverse side of things, this issue is mostly set up with entertaining action sprinkled in in the last third, which makes it feel a bit unsatisfying. If this issue moved a bit quicker to get Batman to where he is at the end by the midpoint, there’d be more opportunity to show readers the true identity of the book. As it stands, this is a great start, but we haven’t yet seen its main purpose.

It’s already obvious Batman: One Dark Knight is going to be an incredible reading experience once wrapped up. This first issue acts as a kind of first act setting readers up for an incredible street-level battle between Batman and all the scum of Gotham. Batman: One Dark Knight is edge-of-your-seat Batman comics with action, urgency, and street-level realism in a powder keg of a first issue.

'Batman: One Dark Knight' #1 brings edge-of-your-seat excitement
‘Batman: One Dark Knight’ #1 brings edge-of-your-seat excitement
Batman: One Dark Knight #1
It's already obvious Batman: One Dark Knight is going to be an incredible reading experience once wrapped up. This first issue acts as a kind of first act setting readers up for an incredible street-level battle between Batman and all the scum of Gotham. Batman: One Dark Knight is edge-of-your-seat Batman comics with action, urgency, and street-level realism in a powder keg of a first issue.
Reader Rating1 Vote
9
A good setup that establishes the situation Batman and the Gotham police are facing
Has the makings of a brawler of an adventure with only hours of time to make things right
You really understand what this book will be on the last page rather than getting it for a few issues
9
Great

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