Batman Universe #1 is a fast-paced, exciting Batman mystery story that likely won’t attract much of an audience thanks to an inflated price point.
So Brian Michael Bendis continues to shape the DCU with Batman Universe #1. This is another 6-issue series that is probably running out of continuity from the other Bat titles and has art from Nick Derington.
The story opens with Batman already in the mobile, heading towards a crime scene, and enjoying the usual banter with manservant Alfred. He arrives to find a whole host of Riddler impersonators, blocking his way from getting to the heart of the problem. When he finally catches up with the real Riddler, he is taken out by a mysterious ray, and only recovers consciousness when Gothams finest arrive and the Riddler has gone.
Batman continues to investigate though, and he arrives in small-town America where he meets a relative of a classic DC Western hero, then Deathstroke attacks, there’s a cameo from another DC hero, and not everything is at it seems.
Batman Universe #1 is a fast-paced, exciting Batman mystery story that wastes no time getting to the action, and keeps the pace up for the story’s duration. For me, though, the real star is the crisp, clean art from Derington, that is simple but detailed at the same time, giving you the feeling that this could almost have been a lost episode from Batman The Animated Series. His work often reminds me of Steve Rude, with a hint of Marshal Rogers, and the action sequences are flowing and nicely laid out.
Batman Universe #1 is a nice book that makes me long for a simpler time when Batman was at his best against his rogue’s gallery, in mystery stories that were exciting and engaging and not bogged down with a whole department store of baggage.
My one problem is the cover price of $4.99 an issue. That means to read the whole story is going to set you back the best part of 30 bucks, and I just wonder who but the most die-hard Batman fans are going to buy this, the other Bat titles and Leviathan, which is a shame as this comic deserves to be read by a much wider audience than it is going to attract.
I suppose the idea now is to “write for the trade” but collectors will always want those single issues first.
With DC cutting down on the number of titles it is putting out and charging nearly $5 for a selection of comics with card stock covers, you have to wonder what is going on at the company.
Perhaps the flooding of shelves by Marvel is starting to take a toll on the other companies, but charging $5 for an issue of a comic is not going to have new, especially younger, readers rushing to the LCS every week, and it makes me worry that the whole industry may be in bigger trouble than we know.