Rating: 5/5 – Batman Family for a New Group of Fans.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
The 1st 100 page Batman sampler that DC is releasing through Walmart stores has 3 full reprinted comics and a new 12 page Batman story. I’ll be reviewing all 4 of these comics and there will be a bit of repetition in this opening paragraph about the program. DC has stated that it is to get new readers into DC comics, so that is how I’ll be reviewing these, not based on the story value to an existing fan. The one exception is the “all new” 12 page story. This is not needed for the new reader and serves mostly, in my opinion, as a DC marketing hook to get their hard core fans to go to Walmart and buy these comics so they do not “miss out” on the new material. The comics themselves are displayed along with the collectible card games (Magic, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh) up by the registers, so are in a good spot to be noticed by kids. That is good. However, there do not seem to be very many copies on display, and I’m curious how many will be left to be discovered by new readers after existing DC fans have swooped in to buy copies, combined with the people who will buy them to resell on eBay.
On to the comics: the 1st story in the comic is 12-pages by Jimmy Palmiotti and Patch Zircher that has Batman trying to solve a kidnapping case and the trail leads him back to Crime Alley, where Palmiotti is able to give a brief recap of the fateful night when his parents were murdered. Palmiotti again shows his ability to cut to the core of a character, he hits the high points of what makes Batman “Batman” in 12 pages. As an aside, the announcements for this 100 page line produced for Walmart talked about a new Batman story by Brian Michael Bendis, but it’s not in this issue. Since this is the 1st of 2 parts, the earliest fans may be seeing that tale will be in September’s #3 issue.
The 2nd story is a reprint of Batman #608 from 2002, the first part of the “Hush” storyline written by Jeph Loeb with art by Jim Lee/Scott Williams, one of the most famous/popular Batman stories of the past 25 years. This is a great story to choose to introduce new readers to Batman, and existing fans should not mind giving this classic a re-read. 3rd is a reprint of Nightwing #1 (2011) written by Kyle Higgins with are by Eddy Barrows/JP Mayer. This is the 1st New 52 issue of Nightwing and one of the better New 52 debuts. Most people are aware of Dick Grayson’s past as Robin from various pop culture sources, this gives a crash course on how he matured into Nightwing, and the tone/action of the story should appeal to Batman fans and could very well create some new Nightwing fans. The 4th and final story reprints Harley Quinn #1 (2014) written by Amanda Conner/Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Chad Hardin. This also felt like a great choice, this Harley Quinn series was a fan favorite and I would regularly see huge lines of people waiting to see Jimmy & Amanda at conventions as a result of this series. Not directly relevant, but I do think it has a good chance of resonating with a decent number of newcomers.
Batman is typically the top-selling comic for DC and of the 4 100 page Giants produced for Walmart, this was by far my favorite. As a fan and also evaluating how it might be received by newcomers to comics, this issue was top notch. The selection of stories felt like they were properly curated to appeal to Bat-fans, helping expand the narrative to Nightwing and Harley Quinn in much the same way the long ago title Batman Family would highlight characters closely associated with Batman in their own stories. The overall package is nice. Good paper and print quality, an intro page before each story and a “come back in 30 days for the next installment” teaser at the end of each. There are ads for complementary trade paperbacks in several places throughout the issue, PLUS an ad for Comic Shop Locator ad to help new readers find a local shop to buy more comics if they wish to (the ad was in the Batman & Teen Titans issues, but not in Superman & JLA). Ultimately, I think it is a nice package for new fans and well worth the $4.99, but the 12 page Batman story is not really enough to make this worth it to existing fans who have read the material being reprinted, except for the most hard-core completists.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics