Batman Giant #3 is in Walmarts this weekend, featuring the debut of Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington’s 12-part story.
After attempting to foil a Riddler robbery, Batman realizes there is more than meets the eye, and a classic detective story is underway. The story is written by Bendis, drawn by Derington, colored by Dave Stewart, and lettered by Josh Reed.
Right off the bat (ha! no pun intended, promise), Bendis and Derington do something really cool and put you in Batman’s point of view for the first few pages. It’s a great way to immediately immerse the reader and change things up a bit. The scene also plays homage to the late Adam West by having the Caped Crusader scale up the side of a building. Add in some witty repartee with Alfred, and we have a truly fun opening that sets the tone for this story.
That really is the best way to describe this story – classic fun. Bendis sets up a mystery for the World’s Greatest Detective to solve, and it just feels like “Batman Universe” is going to be an old school, enjoyable story for all ages. It has humor, intrigue, badass action, etc. It’s a story that’ll keep you coming back month after month (or however these Walmart Giants are being released).
Derington’s art has a retro, cartoony vibe to it that sets the tone perfectly. The fight scenes are full of energy and movement (just look at the top image on this page), and the faces evoke such strong emotion. There’s one closeup on Batman’s eyes that I personally have not been able to stop looking at. Bendis’ name might draw people to this book, but Derington is the one that’s going to keep them there. The intensity in his work is palpable.
Dave Stewart also gets a ton of credit for that intensity. Stewart is one of the greatest colorists of all time. It doesn’t even need to be said, but I said it anyway. He uses bright, bold colors here that both add to the old school tone and also deliver a hard punch during fight scenes. And the way he plays with light…there are no words. As someone with no artistic ability myself, it astounds me how someone can create such vivid light and shadow on the page.
The lettering caps off the strong visuals on display in “Batman Universe”. Josh Reed’s charming sound effects matches the retro vibe of the book and throws in some added flair to the art. As mentioned, the whole comic is fun, but there’s something particularly fun about reading Batman’s grapple gun go “fsshhhooo” and then “clang.” Derington also gets in on the lettering action, working sound effects into the fight scenes, and this is always a treat. It ingrains the sound into the art and cements the immersive experience.
The Bottom Line
“Batman Universe” starts off on the right foot. It’s a simple, interesting premise that will attract readers young and old, and the art is just the best.