Review: Batman ’89 #1

Batman '89 #1

After over 30 years, we return to Tim Burton’s vision of Batman in Batman ’89 #1. The comic is based on the film that shifted the superhero movie genre and ushered in a new age. The story sees Gotham dealing with the escalation of crime and masked vigilantes forcing the District Attorney Harvey Dent to do something about it all.

The debut issue feels like a solid follow up to the classic film with call-backs and references that will makes fans smile and nostalgic. The story itself is decent setting up the conflict and delivering more than just Batman taking on the latest villain with a gimmick. Writer Sam Hamm gives us something a little different in the debut issue where the idea of Batman himself is the villain to some. It debates whether he’s truly helping or just getting in the way.

There’s also something rather low-tech in Hamm’s depiction that really nails home the time. Communication is antiquated looking like something you’d get at Radio Shack and Dent’s crusade is built more off of hunches and conspiracies than hard evidence. There’s no tech dragnet going on, there’s a retro feel about the comic as there should be.

The art by Joe Quinones is good. With color by Leonard Kirk and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the overall look over the comic takes you back to the iconic film. But, while the big picture works, there’s some small details that stand out and are hard to ignore. While Harvey Dent is a decent take on Billy Dee Williams, Bruce Wayne doesn’t exactly scream Michael Keaton. Other characters like Jim Gordan aren’t exactly spitting images either. To get one pretty right and the rest off is noticeable and something that stands out. There’s also a lack of sweeping visuals. The original film delivered moments seared into memories. The comic largely avoids those instead packing in pages with panels. Even Batman’s entrance feels muted.

Batman ’89 #1 is an ok start for the series. At moments it feels like the comic might have actually been helped with a digital release so it could take advantage of the focus on single panels as well as the ability to deliver cinematic transitions. It does a solid job of capturing the feel of the original film and delivers something new beyond the latest costumed “freak”. We’ll see where it all goes but for now, this is one to keep an eye on but no need to rush out and get.

Story: Sam Hamm Art: Joe Quinones
Color: Leonard Kirk Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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