SYNOPSIS: You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts! After Harvey Dent’s crusade against Gotham and Batman, the Caped Crusader has disappeared without a trace. In his place, ordinary citizens have taken to the streets to root out crime. As innocents get hurt, the question on everyone’s mind is the same: Where is Batman? Sam Hamm, screenwriter of the 1989 BATMAN movie, and Joe Quinones reunite for another tale in Gotham!
BATMAN ’89 was the first comic book (other than the film adaptations) set in the “Burtonverse” of BATMAN and BATMAN RETURNS and kinda-sorta served as Tim Burton’s BATMAN 3 — though there was no Riddler and only Harvey Dent/Two-Face and a version of Robin showed up in the comic book. While I was very excited about it when it was first announced, I found the entire series rather underwhelming. Despite my personal disappointment, it must’ve done well because DC greenlit a sequel, BATMAN ’89: ECHOS.
Guess what? I actually liked the first issue…I mean, I really liked it!
It seems to me that writer Sam Hamm learned that a slow burn in ECHOS is better than the breakneck pace in which he wrote the original. One of my main issues with B89 was that it felt as if Hamm was trying to stuff too damn much into the series. Issue #1 moves rather slowly and allows the reader to be introduced to the characters and where they currently are in terms of its post-B89 setting.
I won’t go into spoilers, but essentially, it’s been a little while after the events of B89 and Bruce Wayne is missing — though unbeknownst to the people of Gotham. We meet with the characters — old and new — who will apparently play the main role in this story: Alfred, Barbara Gordon, Bullock, Robin (who is mentioned, but not seen) — the “good guys”; Dr. Harleen Quinzel, Dr. Jonathan Crane (who look a lot like Madonna and Howard Stern, respectively lol!), and Firefly/Robert Lowery (yes, an obvious nod to the actor who played Batman in the 1949 Columbia serial BATMAN AND ROBIN).
As far as Batman himself, we really don’t see HIM in it…but that’s OK. You’ll see why that’s the case when you read it.
The issue ends with a bit of a shocking cliffhanger. Of course, I’m not going to spoil it, but it certainly hooked me and I’m very interested in seeing how all of this goes down over the course of the remaining issues.
Joe Quinones’s artwork is stellar yet again. He really has a grasp of making the comic book feel like Burton’s Bat-World — specifically BATMAN ’89 and not RETURNS (thankfully). In terms of capturing the real-world actor’s likenesses, we only see Alfred, but he looks more like the late/great Michael Gough this time around. And as I mentioned, Doctors Quinn and Crane look quite like Madonna and Howard Stern. It seems as if Hamm and Quinones decided to pay a nod to the old rumors that both were being considered for those respective roles in what would’ve ended up actually being Joel Schumacher’s third Film, BATMAN UNCHAINED (though it’s been revealed that Joel actually wanted Nicholas Cage for the role of Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow).
We’ll see how this plays out, but the setup issue was fun and, as I said, has got me invested. Stay tuned! – Bill “Jett” Ramey