The official inaugural issue of Batman – The Dark Knight sees Bruce being hounded by internal affairs, who aim to find out precisely why he’d co-sign a vigilante like Batman. Bruce is busy smooth talking his way out of the mess when we meet Jai Hudson, a lovely looker who manages to separate Bruce from his unwanted guest. Jai, for the record is a suave speaker who may just have something to hide.
Cut away to Arkham Asylum and we learn that hundreds of inmates have overthrown the facility and are breaking free. Then Batman shows up and things get very interesting. Batman theorizes that the violent outburst may be cover for the escape of Harvey Dent, better known as Two-Face.
When Batman does finally locate Two-Face he gets the surprise of a lifetime. This isn’t the Two-Face readers are accustomed to seeing. This Two-Face looks as though he’s been tapping into Bane’s Venom, and he looks furious. He also calls for a new moniker as he stares Batman down and declares, “You can call me One-Face now!”
Here’s a book that makes for a stellar read. Writer Paul Jenkins works up an edgy and dark tale with very little downtime and a grand finale. Meanwhile David Finch gives us supremely crisp illustrations with beautiful shading and diverse character looks. Alex Sinclair also warrants major praise for his often contrasting colors and stunning looks at the artificial police lighting as Batman descends on Arkham Asylum.
This is how I like my Batman books. Brutal and unforgiving, dark and aimed at a slightly older audience. Books like this refuse to pull punches, and Batman deserves that. The edge is reminiscent of the stellar Nightfall storyline. If you’ve been avoiding a lot of DC’s New 52 books, make sure this isn’t one of them.