It’s James Tynion at the helm for the brand new Rebirth Detective Comics run which starts with an explosive storyline involving family ties, team work and great human sacrifice. Working in parallel with Tom King’s Batman solo run Detective Comics brings greater depth of story writing and more character development and in my opinion Detective Comics is the best choice for Batman fans if you can’t or don’t want to invest in both.
As with any New 52 and onwards era of collected/trade paperbacks you get the standard 7 issue collection with one storyline typically, Rise of the Batmen’s storyline shows Batman detecting an immediate threat on certain members of the Bat family and ‘hires’ Batwoman to bring them together and to prepare them. For the early part of the book it’s all about Batwoman (Kate Kane) as we explore her past, particularly her relationship with her father, Jake Kane (Bruce’s uncle). The family orientated portion is fairly well written and a page turner as we seek the source of the threat that Batman is preparing for. There’s no real shocks involved in Rise of the Batmen’s over arching plot but there’s more than enough to keep you interested.
The ‘bringing the team together’ parts do seem a bit rushed, other than Batwoman, the rest of the gang (Red Robin, Spoiler, Clayface and Orphan) don’t get that much character development other than some fleeting moments. Perhaps Tynion could have done with reducing the size of the team to be able to devote more development to each member, but it’s not too much of a problem really. Rise of the Batmen isn’t really about Batmen but more about the sacrifice made by a certain member and Batwoman’s official introduction to the Rebirth fold.
The titular character, Batman, does get plenty of page space though and Tynion has done a much better job at writing him as a human being first and superhero second rather than his counterpart did in I am Gotham. At times he seems a bit too cold and distant but in other times he is portrayed perfectly as a cold hearted hero with a warm heart deep, deep underneath.
The villains of the book, The Colony, work in a similar way that is nothing new; villains who believe they are actually the good guys who’s ends justify the means. They’re a highly trained bunch who have modelled the whole operation on Batman himself. Strong fighters with exceptional minds they are able to corner Bruce, beat him senseless before taking over data networks to really take control. The group themselves are one thing but it is their leader who is the major talking point – Jacob Kane: Batwoman’s military father and Bruce Wayne’s uncle (he is the brother to Martha Wayne). However, the plot isn’t quite Jake vs. Bruce but more Jake vs. Batwoman. It feels as if it’s written to shock the reader but I am not sure if many people will be. It’s an interesting enough paradigm, however.
The biggest talking point from the book is the explosive and controversial ending which I thought was stellar. Rise of the Batmen seems to lose some steam towards part 5 but regains it and them some in the final issues. No spoilers here but the ending itself almost justifies getting the book.
Artwork in Rise of the Batmen is OK but not on the same level as I am Gotham, in my opinion. Backgrounds are great but there’s some inconsistencies in the way characters have been drawn, especially Batman and Red Robin. Even though there was no artist change in the middle of the book sometimes it feels there was.
Overall, Volume 1: Rise of the Batmen is a strong first volume and the superior Batman storyline in Rebirth so far. A decent storyline with excellent dialogue at times with the only drawback is the occasional sub-par artwork. As an overall book though it’s pretty good!
Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API