Anthology series are always something I enjoy to read in comics. In a comic, you get varied voices and styles, getting to see what creators you might not read would do with characters. It’s also a chance to see what different creators would do in the same sandbox. That often results in a lot of variation showing how versatile comics and their characters can be. Batman: Black & White #1 kicks off a new series with one hell of a start.
Batman: Black & White #1 is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in some time. While the stories are varied and interesting, this debut issue’s art is what really stands out. There’s a common theme, beyond Batman, of artists breaking the mold delivering visuals that “break the page”.
With five stories, Batman: Black & White #1 gives us variation not just in styles but the perspectives and subjects. There’s some “traditional” Batman focused stories but others come from different perspectives. The opening for example is told from the perspective of a member of the League of Assassins.
Each story is entertaining in their own way. They are varied in pacing, tone, and focus, keeping things interesting. Some keep things more traditional in the narrative while others are presented in a more poetic style. The dialogue and types of stories alone are worth picking up the issue. But, it’s the art that really stands out in this issue.
The styles of art vary but they all have one thing in common. Each story breaks traditional page layouts and panels. The opening story uses Batman’s cape to break up the sequences, another is laid out like poem flowing across the page. Another story uses the pearls of Bruce Wayne’s mother to break up the page. In an amazing visual, art from throughout the years is laid out on page like a collage of Batman’s history. You’ll linger on every page in awe as to what’s been laid out. Every inch of the page is used and used well. Only one of the stories comes close to expected page layouts and even then, that tale delivers a lot for Batman fans in the background.
All of that is delivered in black and white.
Batman: Black & White #1 is a hell of a start to the series. It had me lingering on pages in awe of what was before me and wanting more. It shows off some amazing art and will have you longing for more of this and fewer boxes on the page. This is a fantastic issue for Batman fans and fans of beautiful art. It also creates a high bar for future issues to reach.
Story: James Tynion IV, J.H. Williams III, G. Willow Wilson, Emma Rios, Paul Dini
Art: Tradd Moore, J.H. Williams III, Greg Smallwood, Emma Rios, Andy Kubert, Dexter Soy
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Todd Klein, Clem Robins, Steve Wands, Rob Leigh
Story 8.45 Art: 10 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review