With the new line of deluxe editions, DC’s Batman volume provides a mammoth introduction to Tom King’s current Batman run. Collecting the first 15 issues of the series, plus the introductory Batman Rebirth issue. Coming off of Scott Snyder’s New 52 Run, the first 15 issues of King’s run provide a more intimate set of stories, and a welcome break from Snyder’s more horror orientated style. King builds off the monumental events of the New 52 run, such as Bloom, and Zero Year, and scales it back to what made Batman popular in the first place. A mortal man, defending his city, and protecting others the way he could never be protected. As heavily seen in the first arc.
Over the 15 issues, we are treated to the storylines I Am Gotham, two issues of the Night of the Monster Men event, I am Suicide, and Rooftops.
I Am Gotham introduces us to two new heroes, Gotham and Gotham Girl, as they try to assist and eventually succeed Batman. Inspired by his actions, and past events that tie the pair to him. The arc perfectly encapsulates what it means to take Batman’s origin and words to heart, and the dangers it can, and does, bring. In the character of Gotham, we find an interesting parallel to Bruce. As dangerous and honestly foolish as Bruce’s methods are, there are far worse, though still well meaning, extremes to take. As well as the value of preparing yourself, and thinking plans through.
The two issues of Night of the Monster Men included, while good, feel inappropriate and forced in for the sake of completion. Without context, the story skips from part one to part four without explanation, only to end on a cliff-hanger, with a note at the bottom stating, ‘For the full story, see Batman: Night of the Monster Men’. As said, for the sake of completion, it makes sense to include these two issues. But with how disjointed it feels compared to the rest of the book, it’s a little unsatisfying. However, they are easily skippable and do not disrupt the rest of the books story.
I Am Suicide spins nicely out of I Am Gotham, giving a very steady line of progression, and some interesting character development. The story sees Batman needing to break into Santa Prisca to keep a promise he made to Gotham Girl. Having to work alongside several Arkham inmates as his team mates, and against Bane and Psycho-Pirate. While a straight forward plot with plenty of interesting twists. The story contains a monologue roughly half way through, that while brief, is incredibly intimate to Bruce’s origin story, while simultaneously darker than anything included in Scott Snyder’s more horror inclined run.
The final section, Rooftops, is a delightfully sweet wind-down to the collection. Simply chronicling a night with Batman and Catwoman, while tying up a few lose ends brought up in the previous arc. A delightful set up for events to come in later issues.
DC’s production of their recent hard cover books, particularly their deluxe editions, adds an extra level of consumer value, and an all-round pleasure to own. They have taken great care in providing custom artwork under their dust jackets. For the Batman Rebirth Vol. 1 Deluxe, the book is wrapped in a two-page spread from Issue 12, with slight modifications to remove text boxes and dialogue.
A wonderful edition for any collector. Fantastic presentation, strong storytelling by Tom King and art from David Finch. Well worth the purchase for collectors, and those looking for an introduction to the current Batman.
Available here: http://amzn.to/2CivbCP