Wrriten By: Mark Henely
The release of Batman Europa #1 was an unlikely one. Originally announced in 2005 (10 Goddamn years ago), solicited in 2011, and finally released November 2015, many fans probably never thought that this comic would see the light of day. But, it has come out. One week before the release of Dark Knight Returns III: The Master, Batman Eurpoa #1 finally hit shelves. So, the question is, how is it? Is it worth the wait? We know that the concept must have been strong enough to live on in pre-production for a decade, but what exactly is it?
The first issue of Batman Europa is basically this: Batman goes to Germany. Batman learns that he has been infected with an incurable virus and that the only way to find a cure for the incurable is for him to go to Europe. Each issue is supposed to bring Batman to a different European city (rendered by a different European artist) and #1 brings him to Berlin. As Batman searches the city for the Joker (Alfred believes the Joker to be the one who infected Batman), he monologues about Berlin in the same poetic manor that he does about Gotham in most other Batman comics. The writers Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello, do their best to make Berlin a significant part of the story, but they fall short of actually making the setting important. Every event in this book could have taken place in Gotham City. There was nothing about it that was uniquely Berlin.
The story itself is very plain, but that actually works in this comic book’s favor. Best case scenario: Batman Europa will be just another Batman graphic novel sold at Barnes and Noble for the rest of time. The big twist at the end of Batman Europa #1 is that Batman has to team up with the Joker if he wants to find the cure for his disease. For casual fans (people that have only seen Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and games who only play Arkham Asylum), a Batman and Joker team up with amazing artwork sounds very appealing.
But, for obsessive fans (fans that read comics month to month and read reviews online), this comic might feel out of place. It comes from a different era. Bruce Wayne is Batman, his cowl is blue, and the New 52 never happened. The Batman that most fans are reading month to month right now isn’t Bruce Wayne; Batman is now Jim Gordon in a robot suit. While it might be nice to spend time with Bruce in the cowl again, it feels a lot like Marvel’s Captain America: White. That comic also suffered from lengthy delays and, when it came out, it felt like it was from a different era. The era of Batman Europa is a good one, and it is nice to visit once again, but I’m not certain it will be greatly embraced by the hardcore fans. Especially once the Dark Knight III comes out next week.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
***Mark Henely is a stand up comedian, podcaster, and comic book fan. He went to Rutgers University where he officially studied English Literature and unofficially studied Marvel and DC Comics. Now he has a podcast where he reviews the first appearances of Comic Book characters. It is called “Introducing… The First Appearance Podcast” and you can check it out on iTunes and Stitcher. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/introducing…the-first-appearance/id993523477 **