BATMAN ANNUAL #1
Written by Tom King, Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes, Paul Dini, Steve Orlando, Scott Bryan Wilson
Art by David Finch, Declan Shalvey, Neal Adams, Riley Rossmo, Bilquis Evely, Jordie Bellaire, Ivan Plascencia, Mat Lopes, Gabe Eltaeb
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: November 30, 2016
5 mini-stories crafted by some A-list talent bring Batman & his Rogues into the holiday season with Batman Annual #1.
Look at those names up there. I mean really look at ’em. DC wasn’t screwing around when they assembled the creative team for this annual, and you certainly can’t accuse it of being some kind of bullshit throwaway comic like many annuals tend to be. These creators each take a different approach to what it means to be Batman during the holidays, and for the most part I really enjoyed them.
Tom King and David Finch steal the show with the first tale, featuring some of King’s best humour work I’ve seen in his career thus far. Finch’s artwork hits the mark for the short story and this was the perfect tale to kick off a Batman holiday annual. It primed me well for what was coming, and showed a different side of the relationship between Bruce and Alfred.
Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes and Declan Shalvey did their best to steal the show from King & Finch, delivering a perfect Batman short story that flips preconceptions on their ears. You think you’ve read this before, and then it takes quite a twist, in a good way. Snyder and Fawkes let the talented Shalvey go big with the pages and he uses the opportunity well. The cape. Goddamn, that cape is amazing. Bellaire’s killer colours really soar on the page with that goddamn cape.
The next story, by Paul Dini and Neal Adams, was the biggest miss for me in the collection, as the nostalgia of this pair working on a short Bat-story does nothing for me. I’m also not a big Harley fan (I’m somewhat indifferent), so while I appreciated the ending, it was kind of a thud for me personally.
Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo’s story hit like a punch to the stomach afterward, lulling me in with a tale of a socialite, a megalomaniac and a totally unexpected twist at the end. I like where they are taking this, and more than any other story this one sets up things to come in the Bat-verse for sure.
Scott Bryan Wilson and Bilquis Evely deliver a tale that showed how Bruce likes to toy with his villains sometimes, not unlike a cat playing with a mouse. What struck me with this story was how well Bilquis Evely can pencil someone who is creepy as f***. This closed out the annual on both a funny and creepy note, delivering a tale that entertained and got me excited to see more work from Evely on Wonder Woman.
Overall, Batman Annual #1 entertained me WAY more than most annuals featuring several stories tend to. DC didn’t hesitate to bring the creative thunder and their choice paid off. The price tag is steep for a comic, but it is oversized and Bat-fans will really enjoy seeing these holiday moments.
The Verdict: 8.5/10