The masks of Batman #1

Batman might be the most anticipated title of the New 52 relaunch, but it could have been so much more than it is.

This story begins with a riot in Gotham’s Arkham Asylum. Batman gets to briefly fight all of his old enemies, seemingly with The Joker’s assistance, who ends up having only been Dick Grayson in disguise. Then the two go to a party at which Bruce Wayne describes his plans for the city. Massive portions of the town are to be destroyed to make room for huge towers of prosperity and commerce.

These two scenes overly expository, seemingly contrived simply as vessels for introducing the new reader to a cast of characters, one set from the life of Batman, and the other set from the life of Bruce Wayne.

It’s only the final scene which is compelling, and sets up the first new arc, as Batman finds a disturbing bit of evidence at a terrible crime scene, implicating someone within his inner circle.

The story seems to take place concurrently with Batman and Robin #1, as Damian is the same age, and Bruce Wayne here seems to be discussing the same renovation projects that Batman was discussing with Damian in that title.

It’s not as bad about it as Green Lantern #1, but I feel like the title wasn’t relaunched far enough. There is still too much back-story to understand for a new reader to get into it. There are some new aspects to Batman’s character, and this is a new story with some big changes coming up as well, so, in that sense, it is a relaunch, but it doesn’t feel so different that it needed renumbering.

Despite this, it is an interesting book with a story worth following. If they are willing to take some risks, the tale could turn the Batman mythos on its ear.

Batman #1 is available wherever you buy comics, including the ComiXology store.