DC Comics’ new Black Label title, Batman: The Imposter, gets its start this week. And how does this first issue fare? Is it the real deal?

Writer Mattson Tomlin (Project Power, Little Fish) sets the mood, and starts things right off the bat: An injured Batman arrives without notice, needing help. Ouch. And someone is impersonating him! How rude!

Artist Andrea Sorrentino (Joker: Killer Smile, Batman: The Smile Killer, Green Arrow), with Jordie Bellaire on colour, gives us a fully-realized look for the book; it’s deeply shadowed, black and blue. It’s rendered in a high contrast realistic art style.

The narrative is delivered in slivers, thin little panels that run horizontally and in chunks across the page, slowing us down; the font often just a handwritten upper and lower case scatter mat.

As the story crosses back and forth through Gotham, from Batman’s rescuer to the wasted days and nights that serve as back story and catalyst, we seesaw from one lengthy scene to another. Yessir, there is a lot of talking in this story.

But it’s nicely and startlingly well punctuated with visual hits of reds, blues, and blacks, and the page design is refreshing sometimes. The attacks, the chases, and the crimes are scratchy and painful.

Despite the novel-length conversations and the many many small panels with ever-shifting fonts, this is a good read and a solidly graphic unveiling of a new direction for Batman.

The three-issue mini-series will be collected in a hardcover format, available February 22, 2021.

DC Comics, Batman: The Imposter #1, Black Label, $5.99 for 48 pages, 17+

By Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!