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Batman 89 overview: DC Comics offers Burton and Keaton a worthy sequel

Should you’re like me, a die-hard fan of Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, you’ve in all probability questioned how the director’s proposed third Bat-film may’ve turned out had Warner Bros. moved ahead with the sequel as a substitute of pivoting to Joel Schumacher’s Batman Eternally.

Whereas the window of chance for a correct sequel could have handed, DC Comics has delivered the following neatest thing. The brand new collection Batman ’89 continues the adventures of Michael Keaton’s model of Batman within the gothic metropolis of Burton’s Gotham Metropolis. At this level within the story, District Lawyer Harvey Dent — the one performed by Billy Dee Williams — is mounting a marketing campaign to see the vigilante unmasked and his collaborators uncovered. Batman ’89 delves into the background and motivations of an incarnation of Dent that by no means totally received his due on the massive display, and in doing so unveils a extra sophisticated and sympathetic facet of the character than readers have ever seen earlier than.

Who’s making Batman ’89?

Batman ’89 finds unique Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm paired with artist Joe Quinones (Dial H for Hero), colorist Leonardo Ito (Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons) and letterer Clayton Cowles (The Depraved + The Divine). The inventive group’s purpose is to “pull on quite a few threads left dangling” by prior theatrical installments of the Keaton-era Batman.

What’s Batman ’89 about?

Harvey Dent visits Bruce Wayne to request his help in taking down Batman in Batman ’89 #1 (2021).

Picture: Sam Hamm, Joe Quinones/DC Comics

Moreover reintroducing acquainted faces like Keaton’s Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, and Williams’ Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Batman ’89 additionally introduces new variations of some acquainted characters who by no means received an opportunity to look within the Burton-verse like Barbara Gordon and this continuity’s personal distinctive model of Robin. Batman ’89 sees Batman and District Lawyer Harvey Dent pitted in opposition to each other because the Nationwide Guard known as in to carry order to Gotham Metropolis within the wake of a disastrous Halloween terror assault perpetrated by the Joker’s former gang.

Why is Batman ’89 taking place now?

Final February, DC Comics introduced they might be publishing two restricted collection to inform new tales set inside the worlds of Richard Donner’s Superman: The Film and Tim Burton’s Batman, respectively titled Superman ’78 and Batman ’89.

Though the official announcement of the collection was solely as current as this yr, the historical past of the challenge stretches way back to 2016, when artist Joe Quinones posted mock-ups and character sheets on his weblog of a proposed Batman ’89 pitch he and author Kate Leth (Patsy Walker, A.Okay.A. Hellcat!) had collaborated on the yr earlier than. On the time Quinones said that the pitch had been turned down, however it seems that the previous 5 years have been variety to the challenge, albeit with Hamm on the helm as a substitute of Leth.

Is there any required studying?

Required studying? No. Required watching? Sure!

Should you hadn’t already guessed from the title (or studying the prior sections of the overview), Batman ’89 takes place in the identical universe because the Tim Burton’s Batman movies, aptly titled Batman and Batman Returns. Should you haven’t watched these but — nicely, 1) you’re gonna be fairly misplaced and a couple of) what do you imply you haven’t seen them but; they’re superior and obtainable to stream on HBO Max.

Is Batman ’89 good?

What units Batman ’89 aside as a significant continuation of the Burton movies, and never simply frivolous nostalgia fodder, is its multifaceted depiction of individuals of shade — significantly within the case of Harvey Dent. Williams’ rendition of the character was relegated to solely a handful of scenes within the unique 1989 movement image, and Batman ’89 wastes no time in delving into the intricacies of the character’s background and motivations.

Harvey Dent visits his old neighborhood to ask for help in Batman ’89 #1 (2021).

Picture: Sam Hamm, Joe Quinones/DC Comics

We already see the staple traits of Harvey Dent within the opening pages of the primary problem; ambition, confidence, and a fixation on the duality of probability and destiny. It’s not till in a while that we glimpse how Harvey’s wrestle along with his identification and race — one thing which units this specific incarnation of Dent aside from all others — could issue into his inevitable transformation into the villainous Two-Face.

There’s a ton of foreshadowing right here, from Janus, the identify of the restaurant that he and Barbara Gordon are eating at within the opening panels, to the fraught decision of his confrontation with a band of Jokers. On a complete, individuals of shade play a much more distinguished and consequential function right here than they ever had in both of Burton’s Batman movies, probing into themes and concepts that really feel distinctly new and up to date to this universe. Mix that with thrilling motion sequences, an escalation of stakes with the introduction of the Nationwide Guard, the introduction of an thrilling new character, and a few impeccably intelligent Easter eggs sprinkled all through the problem, Batman ’89 is the absolute best continuation of a beloved continuity.

One panel that popped

Batman runs alongside a giant penny deflecting gunfire in Batman ’89 #1 (2021).

Picture: Sam Hamm, Joe Quinones/DC Comics

Two phrases: GIANT PENNY.

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