Batman Thrillingly Faces a Gotham Blackout in DC's One Dark Knight #1

Batman is the sworn protector of Gotham City, who delivers his brand of vigilante justice from the cover of night. But what if this beloved city becomes engulfed in darkness and crooks from every nook and cranny of Gotham use this moment to cause mayhem? Scottish comic book artist Mark Simpson, going under the pseudonym Jock, makes his mark on the Batman mythos with a new 3-issue miniseries. Published by DC Comics under their Black Label imprint, Batman: One Dark Knight #1 presents an action-packed tale of a calamitic night in Gotham City, a night that the Caped Crusader wishes had never come to pass.

Written, drawn, and colored by Jock, Batman: One Dark Knight #1 opens on a Monday evening in Gotham City. However, this is not just any ordinary Monday. It is the hottest day of the year in a Gotham City heatwave. Although that may have been reason enough for tensions to be high on the streets, there is another complication that has kept both the police and the underworld on their toes: the transfer of a supervillain called E.M.P from Arkham Asylum to Blackgate Prison. Batman keeps a vigilant eye on the armored convoy from the Batplane as Commissioner Gordon attends a Prison Bureau conference. But like all things in Gotham, things suddenly take a turn for the worse when a group of armed attackers unleash hell.

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Jock (2000 A.D.) is most known for his artwork for comics and movies and already has an Eisner award for Best Cover Artist under his belt. Yet he writes with an artistic fervor in One Dark Knight, mixing festering tension with top-notch action. There are multiple perspectives and narratives at play in the opening issue of Batman: One Dark Knight. While they can sometimes sidetrack the main story and produce superfluous white noise, in this case, they make for compelling storytelling and add to the book's gritty aesthetic. Even though there is not much depth to the plot, the air of excitement gets stronger as the story progresses.

Jock is no stranger to the world of Batman having drawn Batwoman and Dick Grayson's Batman in Detective Comics. He has a distinctive style with flowy gesture lines followed by dramatic inking that gives a dirty, splattery look to One Dark Knight's pages. It is said that eyes are the window to the soul, and Jock uses that to full effect with extreme close-ups emphasizing the eyes of his characters. His illustrations are emotive and add something akin to a Kubrick stare to the story. Jock predominantly uses a palette of muted shades matching the grim, shabby aesthetic of Gotham City. That being said, in scenes of intense action where gunfire and explosions saturate the panels, Jock shows off his mastery over colors by using a wide range of fiery shades.

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Batman: One Dark Knight #1 depicts a night where everything goes awry, pushing the boundaries of Murphy's law for Gotham City and the Caped Crusader. The story is rooted in the real-life events of the 1977 blackout in New York City amidst an oppressive heatwave and substantial upswing in crime while incorporating elements from cult classic movies like The Warriors as the Dark Knight Detective traverses through hostile enemy territory with a prisoner in tow. There is a concern that the plot may become too one-dimensional, but with hints of interesting developments elsewhere, only time will tell how the whole story pans out.

Batman: One Dark Knight #1 is an explosive start to a Batman story that never steps off the gas, promising more mystery and mayhem as the series continues.

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Sayantan Gayen (74 Articles Published)

Sayantan is a comic book fan based in India who loves good storytelling more than anything else. His power to bore people to death with Kaiju lore is only rivaled by his love for books and movies. He has a master's degree in Energy Tech and loves to watch soccer. You can take a gander at his artworks here: @kenichikyuro

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