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Batman #1 by Ammar Al Subahi

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colorist: FCO Plascencia

Overall: 3.5/5 stars

Premise: A mysterious murder points someone close to Batman as a suspect.

DCnU Batman reviews continue, and this week we cover the first issue of the second Batman main title.

The story begins with a breakout in Arkham. Someone has released all the inmates from their cells and it's up to Batman to stop them. As it first seems that this is too much for Batman to handle on his own, he ends up getting some very unexpected help.

And really, this is all I can get into for now. This is a pretty hard issue to discuss without spoiling too much. The premise above isn't really the premise for the actual issue but rather for the coming story arc. I am not familiar at all with Snyder, so I can't even predict where this will be going or which plot threads are relevant.

What I can say, though, is that the writing feels very solid. The book starts with a great opening and ends with a mystery that intrigues. The midsection lags a little bit, but considering how much information was conveyed in this issue without it feeling like forced exposition, I'd say Snyder did pretty well here.

Compared to Detective Comics, this book has a much lighter tone that specifically comes through with the artwork; it's more cartoony, or more "comicy," than Detective Comics. However, when I describe the art as "cartoony," I'm not using the word in any demeaning way. Quite the opposite actually, the artwork here is great on so many levels. Capullo's pencils are very dynamic. There's so much going on in each panel, so much texture in them, and the details are amazing. Added to this is Plascencia's incredibly adaptive and nuanced coloring; subtle and bleak to fit the tone of Gotham/Batman's world, but strong and rich when it needs to be. The inks by Glapion follow the same principle; hard when it needs to, and likewise soft when it needs to.

My biggest issue with this book is that it doesn't really feel like a DCnU book at all. It feels more like a continuation of the book before the new reboot: newly introduced villains and characters are revisited, and Batman seems to have a good relation with the police. If it wasn't for the #1 on the cover I would have never guessed that this book was part of the "New 52."

It's still a great book, and while Detective Comics shows the grittier detective side of Batman, this book balances the flashier super heroics together with the gritty crime stuff. However, it doesn't come of as new-reader friendly as the rest of the DCnU stuff.

For those reasons, I can't give this issue more than 3.5 out of 5. This is a very solid issue, and if you prefer this take on Batman over the one in Detective Comics, then feel free to add in a point or a half to the rating.