The nice thing about the DC universe resetting itself every other month, is that Batman by far and large remains unchanged. His parents are still dead, he's still a silent guardian, and he exits conversations with Jim Gordon without alerting Gordon that he's leaving. He's a hero who loves his city, and is prepared to die for it.
And this time he almost does! Tom King flawlessly takes over DC's flagship title and delivers an exciting first issue. In a nutshell, Rebirth as a whole is trying to separate itself from DC's New 52. The new take on Calendar Man, the exploration of Duke Thomas and Batman's relationship, and even Batman trying to come to terms with (what he assumed) would be immediate death, was all tied together neatly in this issue (thanks in part to co-writer Scott Snyder). The introduction of the new superheroes near the end also raises some good questions, mostly, why are you here and where have you been. King sets up a beautiful new story line in the Batman mythology.
What really hit me the hardest was Batman talking to Alfred right before he assumed he would die. It reminded me of Wonder Woman Rebirth #1, with our strongest heroes showing doubt even in the face of hope. They've been made human, even though we still regard them as gods. Seeing Alfred's face give away his fear and worry is heartbreaking. Mikel Janin's art compliments the story well. It's detailed, but I love how Janin pencils the characters expressions. Batman, even under his cowl, looks worried. Gordon is annoyed with Batman knows about classified information. The book is beautiful. I'm thrilled that I've gotten back into DC again, they're really bringing their A game to the table.
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