Batman Chronicles
Volume One

Authors: Various
Artist: Bob Kane
Titan Books
RRP 10.99
ISBN 1 84576 036 0
Available 23 May 2005

For over 50 years he has been a part of the American culture. He was a sensation from the moment of his first appearance, and today he has achieved an even more phenomenal level of popularity. Now the Batman's tales are being reprinted in exact chronological order from this appearance in the pages of Detective Comics Nos. 27-38 and Batman No.1...

This graphic novel is a little hard to review. There are serious arguments why you should and should not buy it. While it is a series that will see the collecting together of the original Bob Kane tales in chronological order - which is a must for serious fans - to be honest these early tales have not aged well at all. It is obvious, unlike today's Batman tales, that these were originally written for children and their childish quality is a little embarrassing in places.

And let's be frank, I know he was probably working under incredibly tight deadlines, but Bob Kane (or Rob't Kane as he goes by in the earliest stories) is not the world's greatest illustrator. Nor is Bill Finger the world's greatest writer.

These early stories reveal Batman as he was initially conceived: a mysterious, dark nemesis of crime, a no-nonsense vigilante driven by some inner demon to eliminate society's malefactors. Later, with the introduction of Robin, we are presented with the more human side of our protagonist. Not so fierce perhaps, but every bit as resolute.

Hard-core Batman fans will feel compelled to buy this to check out the dark knight's early years, but the casual fan will probably not enjoy this. As I'm a bit of a Bat-freak, I fall into the first category and found this, from a collector's point of view, to be very enjoyable.

Nick Smithson

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