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Welcome to my new comics reviews column! Just so you know what it's all about, my intention with these reviews is to look at one new issue or collection of issues a week. These reviews will be mainly aimed at people who don't read many or any comics, so I shall strive not to get too technical, obscure or plain nerdy. smiley - winkeye

I shall also attempt to include every week my choice for next week's review, based on the comics shipping lists for the forthcoming week, so people might be able to look out for it in advance or request a different subject for review. The comic I choose to review each week will be based on what I feel is the most high profile or worthy comic of a week. So, this means I would choose to review the first issue by a respected creator ahead of X-Men #654321.

Without further ado, here is the review!

Batman: The Ten Cent Adventure

  • Published by DC Comics, written by Greg Rucka, and illustrated by Rick Burchett and Klaus Janson.
  • $0.10 / £0.10

Firstly, an important point to consider: this 22-page comic only costs ten cents (ten pence in the UK). Ten Cents. You could buy a hundred for a tenner.

But is it any good?

Well, this comic represents what is known as 'outreach' - that is, it is a loss-leader, a marketing exercise used by DC Comics to try to put comics in the hands of people who wouldn't usually read them, rather than make them a load of money in the short term.

Because of this, the comic is aimed at new readers. The first half of the comic is essentially a concise potted history of the central character, Bruce Wayne, and his crime-fighting alter-ego Batman. Even for those potential readers who are only familiar with Batman through the camp television adventures of the portly Adam West and Burt Ward in the 1960s, or the rubber nipples and stylised scowling of the film franchise started by Tim Burton, this isn't anything particularly new.

However, it does give the writer (Greg Rucka, a bona fide crime novelist who has branched out into comics) and the art team a chance to pay homage to some of the back-story and famous images from the past sixty-plus years of Batman.

The story, beyond this extended recap, is suitably brooding and introverted, which fits the title character perfectly. It's narrated from the viewpoint of Batman's current assistant, Sasha Bordeaux, as she goes on a night patrol around Gotham City with her masked mentor. Like every good instalment of a serialised comic, it ends on a cliffhanger. While Batman and Sasha are out around the city, a tragic homecoming awaits them...

Judging by the strictly sporadic action, the plot is definitely going to be a slow build-up, which is a shame considering that this is part one of an ongoing story, and this will be the only issue of the story retailing at 10p.

If this comic was full price (typically $2.50-$2.99 US or £1.50-2.10 for a 22-page issue), it wouldn't seem to be particularly good value. There's some nice dialogue and a few clever bits of storytelling, and the art is by turns suitably brooding and dynamic, but it's very much covering old ground.

However, because you could buy ten for a dollar, it represents unbelievable value. Even if you don't read comics much yourself, it would make a cheap and cheerful present for kids of all ages, nice wallpaper or a good way to kill time on the bus home from work.

Next Week: Amazing Spider-Man #37


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