Batman finally makes his return in the second issue of the “First Wave” series along side Doc Savage and the Spirit. And for all his fame and notoriety he gets one panel. That’s’ right, one panel. Oh, and no dialog. We finally see Batman as he wraps up a would be mugger in his cape making quick work of the bad guy. But that’s it. Make no mistake about it, “First Wave” is a Doc Savage vehicle and through the first two issues he is sharing the limelight with The Spirit as comedic relief. I guess I should mention the Blackhawks get plenty of face time too.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m digging this book. I love the noir feel to the story narrative. Moonlit nights, large limos with their headlights cutting the darkness, blackened alley ways, cemeteries and most importantly, gritty dialog befitting a George V. Higgins novel.
It’s just that a little more Batman would be nice.
We got our first look at the “First Wave” Batman in November of 2009 when DC presented us with a one shot called the “Batman-Doc Savage Special, the First Wave begins.” Batman got plenty of ink in that issue and if you read the book you’ll remember that Batman was portrayed as a young brash playboy. Untested and inexperienced, this Batman was willing to make mistakes and take his lumps in order to ply his trade. He’s not the brooding angry dark avenger that we are accustomed to. He’s cocky and brash. He’s having fun.
Brian Azzarello is the writer for this series, as he was in the one shot. Phil Noto was the artist for the one shot and his effort lent itself more to a Sunday morning comic’s type of feel. This time Rags Morales takes over the art work and he is ably assisted by Nei Ruffino. Their combined effort lends itself more readily to the noir feel of the book as they understand the use of shadow and perspective that is so important to this style.
Azzarello is weaving a dense, multi-faceted storyline that involves some the most iconic heroes of the golden age. Doc Savage, his crew, the Spirit, the Blackhawks, Justice Inc and we haven’t even seen Black Canary yet. And Batman too. For one panel. But fear not, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing plenty of the Bat, and sooner rather than later. There is a lot of gray area in this series. The good guys work in and outside the law, everyone has their own agendas that intersect for better or worse and a mysterious darkness looms fueled by greed and revenge. The type of story that is begging for a Dark Knight.
I’m giving this book a four out of five Bat-a-rangs for where I believe this story is taking us. And I’ll get into some in depth analysis of the plot itself once Batman and his guns (yes, I said guns) makes their full time appearance. I’ll be seeing you soon for “First Wave” issue three of six.
First Wave #2:
Reviewed by Dark Knight Dave