WRITER: SAM HAMM
ARTIST: JOE QUINONES
PUBLISHER: DC COMICS
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 10, 2021
REVIEWER: ROLLO TOMASSI
The Batman 1989 movie holds a special place to an entire generation of comic fans. Personally, I can still remember in detail going to see the movie on opening night. I was 15 and not even into comics (yet). I loved growing up on reruns of the Batman ’66 TV show and Super Friends. Yet back then, I wouldn’t have considered myself a Batman fan. All that changed that opening night at the theatre.
I’ve been praying for a Batman comic set in the Burtonverse for a long time. With so many other movies and TV shows getting their own comic spin-off, it seemed to only make sense for Batman ’89 to get a comic, right? After all, it’s not like DC needs much of an excuse to put out yet another Batman comic. So now that we finally have the comic I’ve waited decades for, how was it? Let’s dive into Batman ‘89 #1 by Sam Hamm and find out.
Batman ’89 #1 has some fun moments but it’s mostly just set up. While we do of course get some Batman moments, this issue focus’s a surprisingly significant amount of time on Billy Dee Williams, sorry, I mean Harvey Dent. In the ’89 movies, we only get a glorified cameo of Dent. However, here we see the start of learning more about Harvey’s history. It’s setting up right now to look like this Harvey will be different from the Harvey we are used to in the comics. Likewise, Commissioner Gordon is portrayed more in line with Pat Hingle from the movie, albeit his hair color changed.
Harvey is beginning a campaign to make Batman enemy #1 in Gotham City. The issue ends with Harvey and the Police attempting to capture Batman. Nevertheless, we don’t spend much time on this issue from Batman or Bruce Wayne’s point of view.
Speaking of Batman, readers do get to see him in action. However, it’s not nearly as dynamic as I hoped for. Now, one big limitation of the famous rubber Bat-suit in the movie was the actor couldn’t move around much, which limited the ability to create some great action scenes. Of course, a comic book can have an unlimited budget when it comes to action on the panels. Yet, so far we only got limited scenes of the Bat-suit in action. Nevertheless, there is an early foiling of an armored car robbery that looks nice and feels like it could have been greater. Towards the end of this week’s Batman ’89, readers get a very fast fight scene where Batman doesn’t do much. I simply hope future issues show Batman in action in ways the movies never could.
While it may seem as though I’m knocking the art, I’m not. The best part of Batman ’89 is the Joe Quinones art. This feels like a project he’s excited to do. There are many detailed panels per page with plenty of easter eggs to find. His rendition of the ’89 Black Bat-suit is lovely. Moreover, his Gotham City has that retro, almost timeless feel that reminds you of the 90’s animated series. This makes sense as the ’89 movies of course influenced that cartoon series. However, one quibble I have is the portrayal of Bruce Wayne. I don’t need him to look like Michael Keaton, but why is Bruce Wayne drawn with gray sideburns akin to Reed Richards? There’s nothing to indicate that there’s been a lot of time between the movie and this comic. It merely threw me off a bit.
Batman ’89 has some fun moments thanks to the stellar art. The story is mostly set up which mainly focuses on introducing readers to Harvey Dent. If you’re a fan of the movie or you would like to try a different Batman comic, this is worth checking out.