The Batman's Grave #1 Review - Another Mini-Series that shoulda been a Graphic Novel...
• Alex Sinclair (Colorist) • DC Comics (Publisher)
• Get it now From Green Brain Comics
I think part of the reason for the declining sales of Comic Books is that fans are starting to realize that many of the books being released don't really matter or are simply being shipped to support the additive nature of comic book readers. Even worse, it seems that the books are designed to exploit local comic shops. The true goal is to compile these series as trades and sell in book stores and eventually large chains like Walmart and Amazon.
I support the idea of moving beyond the direct market but I hate to see retailers being exploited in the interim. Many of the Mini-Maxi series produced by DC seem totally out of alignment with traditional comic storytelling. The entire Hill House line of comics comes off as books that should have been released as graphic novels. There are other examples such as Niomi, Far Sector, and the Martain Manhunter series that was released last year. All of these books would have been better served if released in trade format but retailers and fans are asked to pay monthly for comics with severe pacing and format issues. Some of the comics even end in the same spot they begin with literally no story progression beyond exposition inching the plot forward.
The goal seems pretty clear with DC comics pulling out of Diamond and moving into alternative distribution channels. I predict that DC will eventually transition to releasing these titles as trade paperbacks and ditching the monthly format altogether aside from core titles they consider to be evergreen.
Other books like The Batman's Grave, Daphne Byrne, Metal Men, etc. will be released Digitally or in stores as graphic novels only in prestige format. Whether this is a good thing for retailers time will tell but change is in the air. I just wish DC was transparent or honest about their long-term intentions.
I mention all of that because after reading The Batman's Grave I have no idea why this story wasn't tabled and released in either the main Batman book or Detective Comics. The selling point is Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch on the creative team. The two are legendary creators but unfortunately, there is nothing in this issue that feels like it deserved to be pushed into separate series.
The story follows Batman after a night of patrol. Prior to going in for the night, he receives message from Alfred regarding a case that the GCPD is too overwhelmed to attend to. Upon investigating the crime scene and parties involved it appears that the case will be a lot more complicated than he was expecting.
Not really much else to the issue. The writing and art are solid as to be expected from this creative team but the story at least in this issue hasn't formed yet. There is an amazing exchange between Bruce and Alfred that calls out Bruce's methods but aside from that nothing of note happens here.
As usual, I'm behind on the series. The Batman's Grave #7 just released last week and aside from this review I haven't seen any mention of the series on social media. If I hadn't had the book on my pull list and been so behind I would have immediately dropped the title and waited on the trade. Readers are in for a decompressed story that will read a lot better in one sitting, which is clearly the intent.
Nothing here is bad but unless you're a completionist or just a fan of the creators I'd probably stay away from the series until it's done. It may get better or become a must-read title but how much money are you gonna invest in a hunch or a maybe?