REVIEW: ‘Batman 2022 Annual,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman 2022 Annual #1

Batman 2022 Annual #1 from DC Comics offers a preview of the Batman team on display in the ‘Shadow War‘ crossover. This annual is written by Ed Brisson, with art by John Timms, colors by Rex Lokus, and letters by Clayton Cowles. Anyone reading the chaos that is ‘Shadow War’ knows Batman turned Batman, Inc. over to the arrogant care of his old frenemy Ghostmaker. This issue goes back in time to show how that exchange went down while giving readers the details of their first case.

First, we are given a flashback to Batman and Ghostmaker before they were established, fighting goons in Spain. It wasn’t a needed scene, and it only helped to show Batman had always planned to spread his brand of justice to others who felt the same way: an international community. It wasn’t a bad scene, but we’ve seen it more or less in the regular issues. But as for the main plot…

Yes, Batman has given up Batman, Incorporated. After having already been usurped by Lex Luthor, who used them, they now find out, to their chagrin, that they are under the command of Ghostmaker. Now, the heroes (my fave El Gaucho, Man-of-Bats, Raven Red, Knight, etc.) are definitely not fond of this guy, and the story behind it lent a touch of humor to the tale. But the deal is sealed. Broke, sullen Batman is Gotham-focused again (God help us all) and needs to make sure Incorporated is funded and can travel. Ghostmaker is wealthy, connected, and uber-skilled. And an arrogant prick. To be honest, the character looks cool. That’s about it. He feels like a way to keep the old Batman archetype around while DC figures out how to make the real deal a human being again.

Anyway, what follows after is Ghostmaker forming an international team of who he considers being the best of the bunch while sending the others packing. Then it’s off to tackle a case involving hat remains of Luthor’s failed Batman program. The action is great, fast, and well-executed in terms of writing and visuals. I did feel as if we learn more about Ghostmaker than we do the other heroes, which is hard. I love Batman, Inc. They are a quirky cast of stereotypes that I love seeing and wait to see how they will be written, breaking the molds they were cast in. Sadly, as in other issues where they appear, these global Batmen are background characters. We get to see them in action, but not enough. None of them get fleshed out. This is Ghostmaker’s show, seeing him become a capable leader. We do get a slice of Clownhunter, but never enough to judge his value as a hero or even if he’s interesting.

But the main plot holds up. It continues a few threads from the Luthor tale and other pieces of Batman lore while giving a new character and some fun fight sequences. Overall it’s a fun ride. If anything, it proves the next Batman title should be Batman, Inc., but giving readers the chance to see these heroes finally get fleshed out. Maybe Brisson is the man for the job. He’s already delivered a masterful setup, and perhaps he can make Ghostmaker more than a generic master-of-all-things.

Timms has an amazing artistic flair. Every hero stands out. Fight scenes are hyperactive. The scenery is eye-catching, and Ghostmaker looks very neat and confident. Nothing is out of line, and the colors by Lokus are refreshing to behold. Cowles is skillful in balloon placement and gets to showcase a few varied fonts and SFX pieces. All in all, the looks are gorgeous, and this team needs a monthly.

Batman 2022 Annual #1 is a fun roller coaster that shows heroes adapting to change but still managing to make a difference. It’s well worth your time, and we need more Batman, Inc. in the lineup.

Batman 2022 Annual #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold. 


Batman 2022 Annual #1
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TL;DR

Batman 2022 Annual #1 is a fun roller coaster that shows heroes adapting to change but still managing to make a difference. It’s well worth your time, and we need more Batman, Inc. in the lineup.