It’s only a few years into Batman’s war on crime and the city isn’t quite sure what to make of him. Batman: The Imposter #1 is the latest DC Black Label Batman comic delivering a start that sets up a series full of potential. While Batman’s war on crime shows signs of some success, grumblings under Gotham indicate he’s angered forces that would rather see him go away. An ambitious Detective Wong is trying to put pieces together as to who Batman might be and what his connection is to Gotham’s wealth.
Written by Mattson Tomlin Batman: The Imposter #1 is an interesting beginning. It’s a dual narrative examining Batman and also examining Batman through the eyes of the police. Early on, Bruce is forced into the care of Dr. Thompkins, expanding his discussions with the doctor about his anger to his motivation to seek justice.
While the comic doesn’t dive too deep into all of that yet, it does bring an interesting perspective. Bruce must meet with Thompkins. If he doesn’t, she has threatened him with revealing his identity to the police. But, as a Doctor, she has a responsibility of a patient is going to harm themself or others. There’s a dance between the two that I hope we see more of as the series progresses.
The other exploration of Batman is by Detective Wong. The Gotham Police Department is no longer lead by Gordon and instead has no issue bringing Batman in. Wong is on the trail and through her, we get to see an interesting dive in trying to figure out who’s under the mask. Tomlin does a great job of teasing and dropping hints for the police but never makes it obvious. There’s small details that show Batman/Bruce has thought about this sort of situation. But, Wong is smart enough to figure out and accept that whomever is under the mask, they’re bankrolled in some way and that means the place to start is with Gotham’s wealthy. Again, it’s a solid addition to the story of Batman and gives a grounded perspective that makes you wonder why Gotham PD has never bothered with this before.
The art by Andrea Sorrentino is fantastic. With color by Jordie Bellaire, the duo have created a moody comic that gives us a dark and grimy traditional Gotham. The city, and the people within, feel dirty and worn down. This is a world that doesn’t yet have colorful characters but all the same is a colorful character in itself. “Grounded” feels like the best way to describe the look and feel of this take. It feels more like what we have seen of Matt Reeve’s upcoming The Batman. There’s a realistic quality about it all that balances the fantastical elements of Batman’s world.
Batman: The Imposter #1 is a fantastic start to the series. It isn’t some dark and gritty read one might expect from DC Black Label. Instead, the issue has a very practical approach to it all. What Batman even faces is down-to-earth in some ways. Combine that with some great art and this feels like there’s potential here for a memorable Batman story people will come back to for a while.
Story: Mattson Tomlin Art: Andrea Sorrentino Color: Jordie Bellaire
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review