BATMAN UNIVERSE #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Nick Derington
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Josh Reed
Publisher: DC Comics
Rating: 8/10 Faberge Eggs
If you've ever wanted to see Batman hang around a small town neighborhood in broad daylight, BATMAN UNIVERSE #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington is your chance.
That’s the only good thing about this comic.
BATMAN UNIVERSE was originally printed in Batman Giant (aka “Walmart Batman”). I was one of the people who didn’t pick up Walmart Batman. That said, I’m glad that DC decided to print Bendis and Derington’s series as it’s own comic book.
You don’t need to be reading Tom King’s Batman run to pick this up. You know what? You don’t need to have ever read Batman to dig this book. All you really need to know is how to read. BATMAN UNIVERSE #1 is new reader friendly because it’s a self contained story that tells you everything you need to know.
I’d say my biggest gripe isn’t with the book itself. It’s just that there are more than a few Batman books on the shelves (and more to come). When this book was announced, I wasn’t planning on buying it. “Do I need another book with Batman in it?” I asked myself. No, really… Batman is everywhere. I close my eyes and see Batman, man. In the end, I picked it up and didn’t regret a thing.
What I appreciate about BATMAN UNIVERSE is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a breath of fresh air and I’m looking forward to the next issue. The book's sense of humor sets it apart from other Batman titles. Seems like Bendis and Derington took the lighthearted, whimsical tone of the Silver Age Batman books and gave it a modern twist. So the book is lighthearted but not so corny that it takes you out of the story.
The plot is simple enough.
Batman tracks The Riddler to a museum where the green garbed goon is stealing a $15 million Faberge egg. Hero and villain fight it out but The Riddler mysteriously gets away and is on the run. From the start, it’s clear there’s a bigger threat behind the Riddler. Batman spends the rest of the issue tracking Riddler and the egg from a small town to Amsterdam trying to find out who is behind him.
There are a few cameos in this issue. (Deathstroke being on the cover kinda spoils one of them.) This story also has the first appearance of Jinny Hex, the great-great-granddaughter of underrated Western comic book hero, Jonah Hex. Jinny, a small town mechanic, has a direct tie to the $15 million Faberge egg.
Both Bendis and Derington are having a fun time working on this book. It shows through both of their work. Bendis is telling a story that I want to see through. He got to play around with toys that I haven’t seen him use before. (Also, Bendis’ Batman is snarky and makes jokes. I appreciate snarky Batman.)
So… speaking of Nick Derington. I’ve said in two other reviews that I want to see more Derington art in the world. Since he’s not the regular Doom Patrol artist right now, DC has given us BATMAN UNIVERSE so I can have my regular fix of Derington art.
He has a unique, clean style that brings in nostalgia and makes it sleek and modern. Flip through this book and pay attention to how Derington’s expressive style conveys action, emotion and humorous moments really well. Plus, his art is just fun as hell to look at.
BATMAN UNIVERSE is going to be six issues total. It shows a different side of Batman than the one in his main solo title. It’s a fun story with witty writing and eye-popping art. I didn’t expect to enjoy the story as much as I did but I’m definitely sticking around for the rest of the series. If you love Batman or are new to Batman comics, I’d recommend picking up BATMAN UNIVERSE #1 and join along for this cape and cowl covered mystery Bendis, Derington and co. have planned.