Crusader in Training
By: Andrew Hines
I'm going to break my own rule and cover an actual Batman issue. I've made due the last few months by not getting involved with a title directly involving the Caped Crusader. With that being said, this issue gives us something we rarely see in one issue, a glimpse into Bruce Wayne's path to becoming Batman. We all know his origin story, but this is a look at something more special: his training. We've seen a few glimpses from the old DCU and more in-depth in Batman Begins. What we get here is more specialized training with one of his many teachers from across the globe. We also get a new insight into Mr. Alfred Pennyworth in the side story in the back of this issue.
Gregg Hurwitz is another writer I'm not as familiar with. He did surprise me earlier this year with his run on Batman: The Dark Knight. He continues to make a name for himself with this issue, which could have easy seen Bruce bouncing back and forth between various instructors. Thankfully we see a singular instructor somewhere in the Himalayas. As is typical with the Dark Knight, he doesn't find a Mr. Miyagi type of instructor, but rather a cold and disciplined man.
As far as the art on the main story, Tony S. Daniel has done a good job so far. The same can be said for Richard Friend's inks and Tomeu Morey's colors. It's not as dark as the typical Batman issue, but only because that's not exactly who he is yet. The art is consistent from panel to panel. The only real downside is that .... well, there is no downside. It's a good issue from start to finish.
The backup story is just as good, with James Tynion IV as the writer, and Henrik Jonsson as the penciller, Sandu Florea and John Kalisz on inks and colors. We mostly see Alfred waiting for Bruce to return and another character that you need to see for yourself.
Both of these stories have good pacing and some surprising twists. The issue overall deserves an "A-". It's good, but come on, this is Batman we're talking about.