REVIEW: ‘Batman ’89,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Batman '89

Batman ’89 #1 is written by Sam Hamm, illustrated by Joe Quinones, colored by Leonardo Ito, and lettered by Clayton Cowles. It is published by DC Comics. “Shadows” marks a turning point in the life of the Dark Knight, as District Attorney Harvey Dent resolves to use the full force of the Gotham City Police Department to hunt him down. Dent believes that Batman’s presence has driven Gotham into chaos due to his battles with various villains and inspired other figures-including a mysterious hooded figure in the neighborhood of Burnside…

The film continues Burton’s intended vision for the Batman film franchise that began with Batman and Batman Returns, including the appearance of Two-Face and Robin. It helps that Hamm, who penned the screenplay for Batman and crafted the story for Batman Returns, is serving as the writer of the miniseries.  Hamm’s script inverts a familiar dynamic in the form of Batman and Dent’s relationship, turning them from friends to rivals-and creates another interesting dynamic with Dent’s engagement to Barbara Gordon. Even Batman and Robin’s partnership is flipped, as the two come to blows the first time they meet. With series like Justice League Infinity taking a similar approach, it helps make the comic truly feel like the third Batman movie that Burton intended to film.

Another thing that makes this feel like a proper continuation of the “Burtonverse” is Quinones and Ito’s artwork. Quinones had pitched the series to DC Comics years earlier, only to be turned down; now that it’s become a reality, his work shows that this is a passion project through and through. Quinones’ character designs feel ripped from the casting of Burton’s films, making it feel as though Michael Keaton and Billy Dee Williams are standing right in front of the reader. Keaton’s jet-black Batsuit is given an update, with a more armored feel and the trademark glowing white eyes that are part of Batman’s costume. And his design for Robin incorporates elements of Dick Grayson and Tim Drake while visually bearing a resemblance to Marlon Wayans-who Burton originally intended to play Robin.

Ito’s color work helps set the mood, plunging Gotham City into the gothic atmosphere that permeated Burton’s Batman films. The night sky is a dark blue, shrouded with jet-black clouds. Those clouds match the dark hue of Batman’s armor and serve as a contrast to a group of foes he fights that wear the same purple and green clothing as the Joker. Burnside itself is presented in warmer and more earthy tones, which match the brighter green and yellow ensemble that Robin wears while protecting the neighborhood. The title sequences and captions even boast a style that’s reminiscent of the opening titles for Batman & Batman Returns thanks to Ito & Cowles.

Batman ’89 #1 immerses readers back into the world of Tim Burton’s iconic films and continues his intended vision for the franchise thanks to a creative team who share a love for that world and helped shape it. With Richard Donner’s Superman films receiving a similar treatment later this month and Michael Keaton slated to reprise his role as Batman in The Flash next year, the series couldn’t have come at a better time.

Batman ’89 #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Batman '89 #1
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TL;DR

Batman ’89 #1 immerses readers back into the world of Tim Burton’s iconic films and continues his intended vision for the franchise thanks to a creative team who share a love for that world and helped shape it. With Richard Donner’s Superman films receiving a similar treatment later this month and Michael Keaton slated to reprise his role as Batman in The Flash next year, the series couldn’t have come at a better time.