This book's been a long time coming but sometimes things happen. Instead of wondering what took so long, I found myself diving in and relishing the fact that we're able to read what feels like a classic Batman and Joker story with a pretty impressive creative team--Matteo Casali, Brian Azzarello, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Jim Lee, and Alex Sinclair.
From the very beginning, you can feel this is a slightly different Batman story. We're used to seeing him pretty much mop the floor with everyone but when a fight with Killer Croc takes longer than it should, it's clear something is up. Discovering there's a virus (on a couple different fronts) leads Batman to Berlin.
There's something about seeing Batman out of his element. We've seen him in different places with the Justice League but it's nice seeing him do his thing elsewhere. The fact he'll have to somehow team up with Joker sounds like it could be a mess but it adds a nice twist to further make this a different story. As for the specific setting, so far it does feel like it could take place almost anywhere. Hopefully the next issues really drives home the point for Batman traveling overseas.
The art is pretty fantastic. Jim Lee works over Camuncoli's layouts and Sinclair's colors really gives it a spectacular feeling. Without inks, Lee's art looks familiar but also makes it feel different from his previous Batman stories. It really helps it stand out as its own story and you'll find yourself not worrying about continuity or where the story would fit in.
Batman and Joker. Those two things alone are a selling point. Throw in the impressive creative team and the fact the two enemies have to work together, you have an interesting comic on your hands. There were some delays with this book coming out but now that it's hear, we're able to enjoy a classic feeling Batman story. Jim Lee's art over Giuseppe Camuncoli's layouts along with Alex Sinclair's colors makes this a really pretty book. The issue sets up the overall story and will leave you wanting a little more. You can definitely feel the bigger story brewing.