Review: Batman Universe Trade Paperback (DC Comics)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Nick Derington
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Josh Reed, Carlos M. Mangual, Tom Napolitano and ALW’s Troy Peteri

On sale from 11th May 2021 in trade paperback is Batman: Universe which collects all six issues of the series released in 2019/2020.

PLOT AND STORY

The Riddler has stolen a priceless jewelled egg, and Batman is on his trail, chasing him from Gotham to Gorilla City and points beyond. But when Batman catches up with the crook, he realizes something is wrong with his old foe. The egg is possessed of some strange power that is scrambling Riddler’s brain. The clue to what this is may lie in who hired Riddler to steal the egg: Vandal Savage. What does the immortal mastermind want with it? Batman’s quest is like a tour of the DC Universe, spanning space and even time. Guest stars include Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Deathstroke, Jonah Hex, and more! Brian Michael Bendis (Action Comics, Young Justice, Pearl) and Nick Derington (Doom Patrol) weave a tale that leads the Dark Knight on a wild-goose chase across the DC Universe, tracking down a mysterious artifact that contains the literal key to humanity’s survival! 

Brian Michael Bendis is one of the most respected and successful writers in comics and it was clever business by DC signing Bendis up on an exclusive contract in 2018. He jumped straight into the deep end tackling two of DC’s biggest names by penning Superman Man of Steel 2 and this book Batman Universe. 

Batman Universe is an incredible journey from Gotham and throughout the DC universe meeting endless characters along the way. What amazes me the most about this story is how much Bendis appears to understand who Batman is even though he has been an exclusive Marvel writer for the previous 18 years. Bendis recognises that at his core Batman is a detective and this comic is the ultimate detective story.

ARTWORK

Nick Derington is one of the most talented artists at DC today with experience on Batman/Superman, Young Justice and the new of Doom Patrol and made the perfect partner for Bendis’ story. Derrington creates a modern looking comic while doing a great job paying homage to the more classic costumes. Batman with his grey and black skin tight costume with the prominent yellow utility belt.

This is a grand comic in every way. The story takes us to all sorts of wonderful locations which are illustrated beautifully with instantly recognizable characters be them hero or villain. Dave Stewart fills every page with a soft colour scheme while emphasising bold colours in important moments like the first time we see Oliver Queen’s Green Hood or the striking blue across Nightwings chest.

Throughout the series the lettering is provided by Josh Reed, Carlos M. Mangual, Tom Napolitano and ALW’s Troy Peteri. The lettering is consistent across the series but one touch I really enjoyed was everytime we meet a new character their name is highlighted in bigger title like letters when it’s spoken for the first time. This is a nice way to tell the reader who they are and their significance to the story.

This collected edition also includes a cover gallery and a Nick Derington sketch book with pencil concept drawings.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

I often get asked the question “I want to read Batman comics, where should I start?” and now I honestly say “Batman Universe” because it’s simply the most quintessential Batman comic I can think of. This story displays everything you need to see to fall in love with the character while exploring the DC universe and meeting a huge array of his rogues gallery. With a modern and wonderful illustration this book not only feels like the perfect Batman story but it looks like it too.

I read this via a physical trade paperback issued by Penguin Random House on behalf of DC Comics and received no other incentive to review this comic. All images and artwork are courtesy of DC comics and their respective owners.

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