Publisher DC Comics
Writer Judd Winick
Pencils Ed Benes
Inks Rob Hunter
Colors Ian Hannin & JD Smith
This was an odd book. It was sort of a bridge between the ending of Battle for the Cowl (before Dick took over being Batman) and the start of Batman and Robin. My initial impression of the book was that I thought it was a little ordinary, but since it has been a few hours since I have read it, I think it was a good first issue for a book that will apparently focus on the solo adventures of Dick Grayson as Batman.
The problem I had with the story structure was I found myself trying to put it into a place and time and it was not a seamless fit with Battle for the Cowl. It was also a little strange in how it portrayed the sequence of events and an almost random visit from Superman and Wonder Woman.
What made it work was that you could almost sense this issue was Judd trying to find Dick’s voice as he takes over being Batman. I still think it was mistake to have Judd do this book as Peter Tomasi had a perfect Dick Grayson and I was dying to see him handle the character. Still as the story progressed Judd was seemly growing more confident on where he was going with Dick as Batman.
Judd inserted some of the weepy stuff with Dick being all emotional and Alfred trying to deal with all of it also, but the book redeemed itself with getting Dick into the city and ultimately deciding that he needed to do some solo work as well as work with Damian. Of course the final page which from a story point is the page that made the book leave you with a good feeling as it was a nice shot of Dick as Batman. Unfortunately it was the worst page by Ed Benes. Benes is a decent pencil artists and I enjoy his work, but he seldom bowls me over and his poses at times are artificial. What killed this picture was the super muscular arms on his version of Dick as Batman. Nightwing is strong and all of that but he looked like a wrestler on super steroids. My final word on Benes work is that I’m looking forward to Mark Bagley doing the next four issues.
A final assessment is the book still has me excited to see what adventures Dick will have as Batman. With each story of Dick as Batman the idea he may only be Batman for a year is killing me. Batman is extremely exciting again and the entire dynamic of the book has been altered in a positive way. As Dick fights the old rogue’s gallery, we don’t know how it will go as Dick is not Bruce Wayne, he is his own man. I hope DC brings back Bruce, but in some other role or maybe we see Bruce run Wayne Enterprises to better the world.
Overall Grade B – A slow start; but a good epilogue / prologue and has me excited for what is to come. Dick Grayson is Batman.