The focus of the first Batman issue of the reboot seems to be to establish that he’s even more high-tech than he was before. The issue opens with a riot at Arkham and Nightwing is there, disguised as the Joker to help put the riot down. He’d been posing as the Joker to investigate corruption in Arkham, though there’d certainly be any number of better disguises. Instead of any traditional disguise, they’re using some kind of 3 dimensional image projection system, apparently just to drive home that they have access to futuristic technology.
There’s no real drama to the Arkham scene, the riot is put down matter-of-factly. There’s never a hint of an escapee getting away or of there really being much danger, it is a throw-away setup. We get a 2 page splash of the Batcave, again designed to show off the tech Batman has at his disposal. We get a moment of the “family”: Bruce with Dick (Nightwing), Tim (Red Robin) and Damian (Robin), mostly to show what point we’re at in the timeline, but even this scene is used to show Batman is now high tech. I’m sure all of these techs will be used in the future and they didn’t want them to seem conveniently appearing excuses to get him out of trouble, but right now all the emphasis on the technology he’s using seems a little repetitive and plodding.
We also find out in the “family” shot that Tim might not have been adopted by Bruce in this timeline since he’s shown as Tim Drake. The art is a little weird, in the “family” moment, Dick is drawn quite a bit shorter than Bruce, it looks almost like the artist thinks everyone keeps getting taller as they get older.
We also get a few pages of Bruce giving a speech that serves mostly as a recap of Batman’s origin and to show Bruce intends to use his vast wealth to try to improve Gotham as well. It is a fairly forgettable sequence. There is the beginning of a real story at the very end of the issue, a murder mystery in which Bruce is announced as the murderer’s next target. I’m hoping that the criminal isn’t one of the established villains. Whomever it is has planted evidence leading to Dick being the murderer.
This title shows promise, despite the merely serviceable art. Since they’ve painstakingly done so much setup they should be able to concentrate on plot and storytelling over the next issues. There’s quite a bit still to be revealed about how this universe got to this point and I’m hoping they take the opportunity to change some things. Primarily I’m hoping they have Damian come to be in a different way. I’m also kind of hoping Tim’s dad or mom is still alive. It seems a waste of a reboot to leave these clunkers in place.