At the tail end of last year, DC Comics conjured up five short tales from one Dark Knight in Batman Rebirth Annual #1. As crime never sleeps, so too goes with the Batman—Christmas be damned. These five tales are written by known Batman scribes: Tom King, Scott Snyder & Ray Fawkes, Paul Dini, Steve Orlando and Scott Bryan Wilson. The five stories have no connection to one another; however, they all take place over the holiday season. Batman Rebirth Annual #1 is an oversized single issue. The cover alone is enough to catch one’s eye. Batman, sitting high above Gotham, like a gargoyle, ready to pounce from one of its gothic towers. Unfortunately, within Batman Rebirth Annual #1, there is nothing as memorable; no story stands above the rest. They are all okay.
The cream of this mediocre crop in Batman Rebirth Annual #1 is Good Boy by Tom King, illustrated well by David Fincher. This story begins with Batman being attacked by a rabid dog. The dog was rescued by Batman from a dog fighting ring put together by the Joker. In an odd twist, Alfred picks the dog up from the pound for Bruce to have a different sort of companion. As one can guess, the two don’t initially hit it off; but as Christmas rolls around, he finds he has an attachment to this newfound Bat-Hound. The story is oddly heartfelt, although cliché—how can any Batman turn down the love of a dog?A close second in Batman Rebirth Annual #1 comes from newfound Batman legend Scott Snyder and his tale, Silent Night. This story has a softer tone than usual for Snyder, as the Dark Knight spies some apparent criminal activity which ends up turning into an elaborate crowd pleasing event. This is an understated story and has a quaint charm about it, but is average for Snyder’s standards. Declan Shalvey handles the pencils and inks—I can’t say his style works incredibly for me, but his work tells the story decent enough.
Batman Rebirth Annual #1 has the best of intentions. It takes the Dark Knight and places him in a variety of stories during the holiday season, and more often than not, knee deep in falling snow. But as I’ve stated before, the execution is simply okay. This could be due to the fact that these are short vignettes. There isn’t much time to explore Batman’s world. Yet, it seems something is lost and something more memorable could have been conjured up.
All in all, Batman Rebirth Annual #1 doesn’t need to be tucked under the Christmas tree of the comic book lover in your life. As much asit pains me to say (Batman is easily one of my favourite characters), there are plenty more deserving comics to spend your time reading over the holiday season. If you want an Annual that will knock your socks off—try Superman Rebirth Annual #1. Check out my review if you don’t believe me.