The Batman’s Grave #1 – Warren Ellis, Writer; Bryan Hitch, Artist; Kevin Nowlan, Inker; Alex Sinclair, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: The inclusion of Warren Ellis in Detective Comics #1000 seemed like an odd choice, as he hadn’t had any major Batman work in a while. It made a lot more sense with the announcement of The Batman’s Grave, a twelve-part maxiseries, a stand-alone mystery by Ellis and legendary artist Bryan Hitch.
For those comparing this book to Hitch’s other recent DC work in Hawkman, you’ll find Hitch is showing off some very different strengths here. There’s much less bombastic action, instead, many more subtle character moments and detailed crime scenes. It also seems to be very much about the relationship between Batman and Alfred – making it an odd choice timeline-wise, unless it’s intended as a tribute to the butler.
It starts with a mostly dialogue-free segment where Alfred tends to the Waynes’ grave plot, along with an unfinished plot they purchased for Bruce, and reflects that he knows he’ll outlive his adopted son – a theory backed up by the many risks Batman takes each night.
There’s some scenes of Batman in action – a scene where he protects a policeman and his husband from a skinhead gang is visually stunning – but this is a mystery story at its core. The real plot kicks off with Batman being called to a run-down apartment where he investigates the death of an old man who was obsessed with Batman – until he was horribly mauled by an unseen killer, who perfectly staged the room.
The scene where Batman goes into a trance to analyze the crime scene through the eyes of the victim is fascinating, and easily the most Ellis-esque moment in the script. I could have done without Alfred reciting lazy talking points about Batman only fighting the poor and mentally ill, and the cliffhanger is an odd jump scare that doesn’t quite make sense yet. But it’s an intriguing start to a slow-burn Batman mystery by an all-star creative team, and this first issue did enough to hook me.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.