Ricky Church reviews Batman: One Dark Knight # 1…
There is no doubt that Jock is one of the best comic book artists in the business, especially when it comes to the dark corner of Gotham City, DC. Jock has a lot of experience drawing Batman in stories such as Batman: The Black Mirror and The Batman Who Laughs, but in his latest project for DC’s Black Label miniseries Batman: A Dark Knight Jock takes on art and writing tasks for the first time. A dark knight # 1 is a very well illustrated problem, but Jock’s writing makes for a gripping story as Batman faces a very difficult challenge.
A dark knight sees Batman assisting in the transfer of a powerful metahuman named EMP who is capable of charging so much electricity that he could shut down the city’s power grid. When their convoy is ambushed, Batman tries to capture him before he can reach a full charge, but at the end of the chase all city lights are out, Batman is left without communication with Alfred or the GCPD and it’s stuck miles away from Blackgate. Prison with almost all of Gotham’s gangs converging on its location and EMP’s location with the intention of freeing or killing the villain.
Jock captures the characterizations of the distribution fairly well. Batman and Alfred have good jokes while also making it clear that the two are quite intelligent and adaptable to the situation. New Rita Vasquez, Gotham Prison Bureau Chief, has plenty of time throughout the issue to make her place in history, as she is very opposed to Commissioner Gordon’s current method – and by extension , from Batman – to deal with the bad guys. She does not believe in locking up supervillains and other criminals in Arkham, but in harsher sentences and incarceration in Blackgate, which is why she was so adamant that the EMP be moved from Arkham to a new secure cell at Blackgate. EMP doesn’t get much characterization into the issue as he mostly stays locked in a truck and then runs off, but he does appear to be an interesting new villain and, from what little he’s actually said, doesn’t look so bad. apparently the other rascals and Jock are teasing that there is more to him than what we or the other characters know. Hopefully he gets more development to set him apart from the other villains in the next few issues.
It goes without saying that the artwork is fantastic. Jock’s imagery is great, from the way Batman leaps across rooftops to the EMP gaining more power. Even the way Vasquez faces Gordon and they argue is dynamic with a lot of energy on the part of the characters. Jock’s illustrations flow easily from page to page, and facial expressions are beautifully detailed, as is his color work with how the sun slowly sets until total darkness invades the city. One of the best aspects of the problem is the inclusion of multiple Gotham City maps, showing the transfer route from Arkham to Blackgate with listings for each district and where the gangs reside. Jock aptly describes the city’s grand scale with its various neighborhoods and other landmarks (a few of which are ably named after Batman writers or artists). Once the power is cut off at the end of the problem and the final map is displayed with Batman’s location and the routes the Gotham gangs took to trap him, it becomes clearer than ever how bad this night will be. really difficult for Batman and his unconscious prisoner.
While Batman: A Dark Knight # 1 mainly served as a set-up for the following issues, the way Jock presents the story and his new characters never feels like it’s a slow pace to get to the trigger point of the story. This builds up nicely as the stakes become clear and Jock’s take on the characters feels right in their typical characterizations while his artwork and color sets the tone very well. The anticipation for what Jock will do next on Batman’s journey through Gotham that night is already high and exciting for his very first written issue.
SEE ALSO: Check Out The Official Batman: One Dark Knight # 1 Preview Here
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