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Comic review: Batman: The Dark Knight No. 1

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The Deal: DC launches yet another Batman solo title; this one, however, is the creative vehicle for superstar artist David Finch, who provides both the story and art for the series. (Think: Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man in the 1990s.)

The Good: Whether you go for Finch's style of drawing or not, The Dark Knight is obviously a beautiful comic book. Finch's work here evokes some of the best qualities of guys like Jim Lee and Michael Turner; add to that the incredible inks of Scott Williams — which add tons of body, depth and mood — and you've got one hell of an illustrated package.

The Bad: In early press for this comic, Finch was quoted saying that Jim Lee's work on Batman's "Hush" story arc was a big influence on what he's doing here. I can see that influence — there are several story elements that mimic "Hush." Like that 12-issue story line, this tale focuses on an old childhood friend and puts altered versions of classic Bat villains like Killer Croc (among others) in the spotlight. But, really, if I wanted to read "Hush" again, I'd just pick up the trade paperback. From what I hear, the series will take a turn toward the supernatural in upcoming issues ... I look forward to that spin. So far, we're off to a fairly familiar start.

The Verdict: It's a pretty-ass book with a story that's not so unique. But I think I'll stick around to see how things develop.

Random Comic News

Comic convention season doesn't start in earnest until the spring, but you can get a tiny "con" fix this month at the Charlotte Minicon. Taking place on Jan. 22 at the Palmer Building at Fireman's Hall (2601 E. 7th St.), the Minicon features appearances by guests like Chris Brunner (Boondock Saints, Loose Ends), J. Chris Campbell (Zig Zag), Sanford Greene (1000), Dustin Harbin (Diary Comics), Jason Latour (Noche Roja, Scalped, Wolverine), Budd Root (Cavewoman), Bridgit Scheide (Kindle), Andy Smith (X-Men Forever 2) and Chrissie Zullo (Fables), among others. And admission is only $3. For more information, visit www.heroesonline.com.

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