The new series by David Finch has been buzzed about for months. The question everyone seems to be asking is "Do we really need another Bat-Family title?" I don't know the answer to that, unfortunately. What I do know is we're given a pretty decent story here.
We start with young Bruce introducing us to Dawn Golden, a childhood acquaintance we're informed broke his heart during his college days. It's clear young Bruce and young Dawn don't get along right away. But, since their fathers have business to discuss, they're sent off to play together.
Young Bruce and Dawn tussle at the manor over a kite. It was a brought back for Bruce by his parents and promptly released by Dawn. After the struggle, which ends in Bruce getting pinned, he begins to think she might not be so bad.
From that sweet jaunt down memory lane, we go to the GCPD headquarters where a department rookie is complaining about his assignment and asking to be given the Dawn Golden case. It seems she's gone missing and they're without clues.
Fortunately, Batman isn't thrown off so easily. He lies in wait in an alley, anxious for someone to emerge. A large gentlemen, shielded from the weather by a trench coat finally emerges and sets off. Batman watches him, shadowing him until we see it's Killer Croc. Batman knows right away he's on Venom, Gotham's steroid of choice, and that he'll be tough but it doesn't matter, because Bruce is on a mission.
Swooping down from above, Batman hits him with everything he has. It's just enough to knock him off his feet. They fight for several panels, with Killer Croc not giving up an inch. Batman manages to get a cord around his foot and bring down a marquee onto Killer Croc's head, knocking him out momentarily. Then Batman begins the interrogation.
When Killer Croc is reluctant to give anything up, Batman threatens him with a serum to immunize the body from the effects of Venom, in effect forcing him to quit cold turkey, a process few survive. Killer Croc gives up the information, giving him the name of Lars Beck. Batman forces the vial down his throat immediately after.
The police arrive and Batman gives Commissioner Gordon the information. He's familiar with Lars Beck, a small time hood with a long rap sheet. Unfortunately the rap sheet won't be getting any longer as they fished him out of the river that morning. Suddenly, the press descends, anxious for any information on the missing heiress.
Down in The Narrows, a group of hobos sit around a trash barrel fire and discuss several friends who have gone missing recently. In a classic horror movie blunder, one of the hobos excuses himself to relieve himself and suddenly we're treated to screams. We only see an outline of the victim, but even from that we can tell his insides are on his outside.
Back at the Batcave, Alfred attempts to remind Bruce there are pressing matters that require his attention around the world and that Dick is more than capable of handling Gotham. Bruce asks Alfred if he remembers Dawn as a child. Alfred makes it known he didn't care for her father and worries her upbringing may have ruined her. Bruce says he's determined to get to the bottom of this and is going undercover to ask some questions. He gets Alfred to cut the power around The Boom Room, the club he intends to infiltrate.
Gaining entrance to the club, Batman immediately finds a safe containing a necklace. Alfred agrees over the comm that it is the necklace Dawn is wearing in all of her photos. Bruce remembers her wearing it even longer, but it's clean of any prints.
At that point, he realizes the whole thing was a trap. Someone takes the Batmobile offline, and that's when Penguin enters the club office, four goons with advanced military technology behind him. Penguin makes several bird puns, ending with "it looks like your goose is cooked."
This story is to be continued in issue two of The Dark Knight.
I'm going to go out there and say I was absolutely thrilled with this book. I loved the artwork. I'm a little ashamed to say I'm not familiar with David Finch's artwork, but this is a definite incentive to go pick up more. The scene where Killer Croc is first shown, his face almost seems to pop from the pages. The coloring fits the tone of the book well.
Just like most readers, I was curious as to what David Finch meant when he said this book was going to be about the emotional ties in Gotham that Bruce couldn't leave behind when he started Batman Inc. This clears that up nicely. Although I'm not impressed they worked yet another woman into Bruce's life, this girl isn't being set up as a current love interest. I'm loving the writing in this book and I'm waiting anxiously to see where this story goes.
Batman: The Dark Knight #1:
Reviewed by Melinda