Home > DC Comics > Batman: Gotham County Line #1

Batman: Gotham County Line #1

October 3, 2005

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The Obvious Kill

A series of bizarre killings brings Batman somewhere he never goes… the suburbs.

Writer: Steve Niles
Art: Scott Hampton
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: Scott Hampton
Publisher: DC Comics

A string of bizarre murders brings Batman out of Gotham City and into the suburbs, a place where the rules are different, but the threats are just as deadly. This is (as far as I know) the first foray into superhero comics for horror-meister Steve Niles (unless you count the pseudo-superhero Fused), and as Batman stories go, it’s solid, but not spectacular.

This issue is mostly setup. An encounter with a familiar foe leaves Batman contemplating the afterlife just as he begins investigating a murderer with a penchant for taking body parts from his victims as trophies. This issue is mostly standard, with pieces being put into place and Batman trying to solve the mystery. In fact, if not for the twist ending of this first issue, it could have been a passable done-in-one storyline.

It is the twist, in fact, that gives me hope that after three issues this will be more than just another superfluous Batman story. Niles is at his best when dealing with weird tales, and that’s the direction the series seems to be going. If he’s going to deal with the supernatural, better a horror story than a fantasy epic or sci-fi tale.

Scott Hampton’s artwork is very well suited for this title. He’s got a line that’s close enough to traditional superhero comics to make Batman look at home, but combined with Jose Villarrubia’s colors he paints a picture unusual enough to be placed in the horror section of the comic shop, which is where this book feels like it’s going.

I’m a big fan of Steve Niles, but this opening issue is really just okay. Hopefully he’ll be able to take the story someplace unusual as he goes along – I’d really like to see him take Batman to uncharted territory.

Rating: 7/10

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