Batman Europa #1 (of 4)
Written by: Brian Azzarello and Matteo Casali
Art by: Jim Lee
First things first, Jim Lee is back at it again with his iconic imagery of the Dark Knight. If that isn’t a big enough reason to grab this book and salivate over the panels, then you have to also take into account writers; Brian Azzarello and Matteo Casali. Azzarello has an experienced and very well awarded and received past of writing for crime-thriller comics, 100 Bullets, as well as a Batman story with a crime based plot in Broken City. Teamed with Matteo Casali who also has had dealings with solving murders and deaths in comics like Catwoman’s Of Cats and Dogs. Altogether, this is an all-star team of comic book writers and artists doing a miniseries on a subject they are very well versed in.
The story trades the spotlight with the art throughout the comic. Opening with some visually stunning Batman and Joker sequences and a glimpse of Gotham, the script takes over to deliver us the main plot of the series. Batman is infected with a virus that will kill him in a week’s time. Jet setting across the globe to Europa in pursuit of information on this lethal virus. We are shown a view of Berlin that is very well detailed; made to feel rugged but still stoic. This was a great layout of script and artwork as both artist and writer bring to life this part of Europe for us. The writing tells us about the city’s past and what it is now, the art showed us the location and made us understand the brick and mortar have a story of their own. Much like the rest of the book, this transition from Gotham to Europe was very important to me as it made me feel like this was more than just a stop for the Batwing on Batman’s crusade for a cure.
Of course we can’t forget the other main character of this comic book, the Joker. Batman isn’t the first one to realize he has been infected by a virus. The Joker is already cutting a bloody path through Europe to find a cure himself, which brings these two arch nemesis together. I think the dialogue between Batman and Joker feels natural and you get the real sense that these two have had a long history of dealing with each other (obviously), but when the Joker realizes that Batman needs him, you know he is smiling the biggest Joker smile ever.
With the way issue one started out, I think this series is going to give us some very classic looks at the Joker/Batman dynamic, both in writing and in illustrations. I will be shocked if we don’t get a handful of panels from this series that will be the new standard for what everyone pulls up in their mind as their ideal Batman physique and personality (i.e. Jim Lee’s Batman from the Hush series). The stage is set for this potent pairing to wow us as they seek the carve a path throughout Europe.