Within the past 5 years, DC Comics has released a multitude of books under their “Rebirth” and later their “DC Universe” line of books. With these changes, they have also introduced books based on their movie franchises. The first of those is the miniseries Batman ‘89. It was written by one of the co-writers of the original 1989 Batman movie (Sam Hamm). Additionally, it was drawn by Joe Quinones (best known for 2015’s Howard the Duck.) The cover by Joe Quinones is spectacular, with it being hyper-realistic in a way making it comparable to the live-action of the original movie. If one only took a quick glance at it, you could think it was a real still from the movie.
As always, the review will be judging the comic based solely on the contents within the issue itself, disregarding any previous issues, and instead judging it on its own merit. Luckily, this issue lives up to any expectation one could put on it.
Within just 20 pages, Hamm tells a story that reminded me of the classic Burton movie in a way that feels tailor-made to the comic page. The writing for this issue contains a fascinating story that honestly beats out what Hamm wrote back in 1989, which is not surprising because he has had 30 years to improve his craft and reflect on what made the series best. Very rarely does 20 pages feel like enough, but he is able to fill in a complete story that draws you in and leaves you wanting more.
Joe Quinones drew art in this issue that looks almost identical to the actual actors who portrayed these characters in a way that feels realistic but not horrifying due to the differences between the mediums of live-action and comic art. It feels like a traditional Batman comic but done in the style of 1989’s Batman, and takes the best of both worlds for it.
Now for the less positive thing: the price. Four dollars for any 20-page comic is ridiculously expensive, but if you can afford it, I highly recommend buying it the next time you are at your local comic book store. If not, then keep an eye out specifically for this from discount comic distributors.
Issue #1 of Batman ‘89 is a fantastic look at what could have been in the world of Tim Burton’s Batman, and quite literally the only thing that I dislike about it is that it makes me disappointed it was not made in live-action decades ago. The book truly feels like a storyboarded outline of a sequel to Batman ‘89 and Batman Returns. All I can say is, the book is getting me excited for Michael Keaton’s upcoming appearance in DC’s upcoming Flash movie.
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