COMIC REVIEW: Batman: Europa #1 – Berlin | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Batman: Europa #1 – Berlin

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Batman: Europa #1 - Berlin

Writers: Matteo Casali, Brian Azzarello

Artists: Jim Lee, Alex Sinclair, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Pat Brosseau

$4.99

DC Comics

Batman sure has a lot to do these days, what with movie franchises, video games, several ongoing comic book series, and a new animated feature in the works – it’s starting to feel like maybe the bat has become a little played out. So, naturally, when I saw that there was a new four part series being released today, I had my doubts.

COMIC REVIEW: Batman: Europa #1 - Berlin

Batman – Europa #1 (2016) – Page 24

I’m pleased to say those doubts have been put to bed. Batman: Europa #1 starts out at what I can only assume is the ending of the series, showing Batman and Joker beating the life out of each other in glorious fashion. These scenes are excellent, as they set up that this series will have a very brutal and violent ending (or near-ending), which I think is a thing that all fans of Batman crave. Quickly, from there, it moves into the grit and grime of Gotham. The writing in these first few pages is just what you’d expect in that it ties Batman to his him. It makes Gotham his; a very commonplace theme in any Batman series. It keeps the old villains in tact, pitting Bats against Killer Croc in the first few pages, and laying the framework for the larger story arc. We learn that Bruce has been attacked by a virus called “Colossus” on  two fronts, his network back at the Batcave, and in his bloodstream. Alfred, like he does, tracks the virus’s point of origin, and this is where Batman: Europa begins to really set itself apart.

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As its namesake would suggest, the rest of the book takes place in Europe, more specifically Berlin, Germany. It’s one thing to change the setting, but the scripting here does a great job of making the reader feel that scene change. As Batman traverses Berlin, we are inducted into the city with historical information and a large change in architectural design in the art. They do a really great job of making you aware you aren’t in Kansas anymore.

COMIC REVIEW: Batman: Europa #1 - Berlin

Batman – Europa #1 (2016) – Page 10

It must be noted that the art design and direction through the entire page is wonderful. I was drawn right in from the first page by cutting lines and refined brush strokes that look watercolored and loose where needed, but also sharp and focused in contrast making for an offbeat and intriguing visual experience. In the first few pages of the Berlin scenes, however, I was troubled by some of the dialog choices used for Bruce. One line in particular, “It’s the kind of place where a parole card doubles as a membership one,” felt a little gumshoe Michigan J. Frog to me. That being said, the pacing and storytelling are excellent. The story snakes its way back to Joker, and we start to see some depth added to those first scenes. As it turns out, Joker is infected with Colossus as well, forcing Bats and Mr. J into a team-up situation. I like how this plays out. Without those initial scenes in the book, this may feel more like an dark buddy comedy than a Batman story, but their addition introduces the idea that, at some point, there’s going to be a hell of a turn, as I’m sure we’ll see in issue #2 as Batman and Joker set their sights on Prague.

COMIC REVIEW: Batman: Europa #1 - Berlin

Batman – Europa #1 (2016) – Page 23

The “Best There Is”: They set up the hook right in the first few pages, and tie it back in at the end. This idea that Batman and Joker now have to rely on one another, when you know that at some point all the want is to kill each other, makes this series compelling from the start. The art is beautiful and adds so much depth to an already enthralling piece of storytelling. The fact that this is a four-issue series is perfect, as we’ll get to see everything introduced in the first book pay off in rapid succession, adding to the visceral pacing of the series as a whole.

The “Not Very Nice”: The dialog for both Batman and Joker could have been a little tighter on some of the pages. The story is dark and disturbing and violent and those ideas are deeply reflected in the art. Some of the dialog choices distract from that, and feel like DC is maybe somehow looking to pitch this book to a younger audience.

FBI Score: 8.5 out of 10. Batman: Europa #1 is a strong start to the four part miniseries. The creative team shine together, giving so much promise to this series that it’s hard to see where we could possibly be let down. Every page comes off as an accomplishment, with such lush lines and bold color work driving the script all the way to its very satisfying cliffhanger conclusion.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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