Batman: Europa Is Finally Published Ten Years Late, Isn't Half Bad

Batman: Europa Is Finally Published Ten Years Late, Isn't Half Bad

Back in 2004, DC Comics announced Batman: Europa, a miniseries with art by pencil god Jim Lee that would take the Dark Knight and the Joker out of Gotham and across the Atlantic. Years went by. Children were born that learned to walk and talk. Twitter was invented. The book never came out. Now it's here.

Written by Matteo Casali and Brian Azzarello, with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Jim Lee, Alex Sinclair and Pat Brousseau, Batman Europa is classic-recipe, late-period Caped Crusader. Bruce Wayne's still Batman, Alfred has still two hands and the Joker has not cut his own face off.

Spoilers follow.

Batman: Europa Is Finally Published Ten Years Late, Isn't Half Bad

The story opens with a hell of a first page...

Batman: Europa Is Finally Published Ten Years Late, Isn't Half Bad
Batman: Europa Is Finally Published Ten Years Late, Isn't Half Bad
Batman: Europa Is Finally Published Ten Years Late, Isn't Half Bad

... then flashes back to a sequence where Batman learns that he's dying from something called The Colossus Virus and only has a week to live. A fraught conference with Alfred and some World's Greatest Detective Work later, Bruce is off to Berlin.

The main draw of Europa is that it's a high-level Batman adventure that's also a pulp travelogue. Azzarello and Casali's description of the once-split German city throbs with two-fisted tension, even though it's describing long-ago historical events. The prose makes the appeal of the place feel immediate, casting Berlin as a place where Batman would be at home.

Batman: Europa Is Finally Published Ten Years Late, Isn't Half Bad

Batman learns that he's not the only Gothamite that made the trip to Germany and soon encounters the Joker amidst signs of his archfoe's handiwork. But it turns out that the Clown Prince of Crime is also infected by the mysterious illness, too. Crazy as he is, Joker doesn't want to go out wasting away because of someone else's messed-up plans. Whoever's gunning for both Batman and Joker have given the mortal enemies distinct but interlocking bits of information, which means that they will have to go on a continent-wide road trip and work together to find a cure.

Now that Jim Gordon is the new robo-suit Batman and Bruce Wayne lives an angst-free life with a clean-slate brain, Europa has the unintentional effect of evoking nostalgia for the Batman status quo of a few years ago. It's a good-looking book, though, and it will be fun to see the Dark Knight pounce and glide his way through Europe's most beautiful cities in the series' remaining issues.


Comments

    Nice, but over all the reboots. Good to see some classy, blue & gray Bats.

    Years went by. Children were born that learned to walk and talk. Twitter was invented. The book never came out. Now it’s here.

    Better than Duke Nukem: Forever.

    Child were born and later dies. Civilisations were raised and then fell. The ice caps melted then froze again.

    Then the game came out and we wished it hadn't.

    Jokes aside, might give this a try but I wonder if me having never read a Batman comic (my knowledge comes for the 1990s cartoon) will I actually understand the content?

    Last edited 20/11/15 4:19 pm

      If you read one of the one-offs or limited series like Europa or Batman: Noel (Definite recommendation for that little gem), the answer would be... Yes.

      Anything before 2005? That gets a 'Probably'. Post Infinite Crisis/2005? Despite the goal of being a clean slate for new readers? The answer would be 'Nope'. Two subsequent reboots in the span of those 10 years didn't help.

        Wait, sorry, I made a mistake.

        I looked at my book shelf and I have (and read) the following:
        * The Killing Joke
        * The Court of Owls (Vol. 1 and 2)

        Don't know how I could forget those but that's all I've read. I have contemplated seeing if I can source the old Detective comics but don't have the time nor the money. And even then, I have wondered, "Do I need to go back that far?"

          Probably not. I'd say stick to stuff post 1985 and Crisis on Infinite Earths, where any fan of the animated series will feel most at home.

          Tentatively, I'd suggest Batman: Year One as a place to start. Though what you think of Frank Miller's work does play into that (Some of the more, shall we say, colourful parts were simply ignored by future writers). There's also 'The Long Halloween' and the 'Knightfall' saga (If you can stomach 60+ issues in three trades!). Grant Morison's Batman: Arkham Asylum and Dan Slott's Arkham Asylum: Living Hell are direct inspirations for the Arkham video game series, if you're curious. On the same tangent, Batman: Haunted Knight is pretty neat too. A collection of Halloween themed stories revolving around the Dark Knight.

          Finally. Batman: Harley Quinn is the first time Harley appeared in the comics. Yep, she was created for the animated series, but proved popular enough she jumped ships and became a member of the comic universe.

          In the last few years I've gotten into batman in a big way, and compared to something like the x-men, it's been pretty easy to not feel like you're missing important plot details. I read a lot of the Morrison run - great but definitely a little obtuse at times ( not from continuity issues but Morrison is juat a wacky but brilliant dude ) and I read basically all of the new 52 batman comics up until recently. Snyders run has been masterful....until batman is basically killed off again. He only got killed off like 5 yrs ago and they have to go changing the status quo AGAIN just for variety I guess?
          I'm getting sick of all these reboots it's just mind boggling. It's such a pleasure to grab an image or vertigo trade and not have to worry about tie-ins, crossovers, reboots...
          Having said that, make sure you grab or read these classic batman trades :
          The dark knight returns
          The dark knight strikes back
          The long Halloween
          Also I'd have to recommend all of Scott Snyders new 52 batman run ( bar the latest arc which I haven't read ), batman and Robin new 52 which I think is written by Peter tomasi, and drawn spectacularly by Ethan van sciver, and as I said grant Morrisons run was quite good, especially when dick Grayson was batman with Damian as Robin.
          Obviously there are other great runs of the character out there, but these stood out to me.

          Just to add to Vox's great list; HUSH is worth a look for a relative new comer, and my personal Fav, the Dark Knight Returns. Not necessarily as starting points mind you, but they make great entry points because the stories are relatively self contained. They don't 'require' prior reading, but anything gets better with it. (Don't go near R.I.P yet lol)

          Also, the Killing Joke/ cartoon seems to me like a pretty natural place to start IMHO, so you've done well.

        http://www.comicvine.com/profile/batshrine/blog/batman-tpb-complete-chronology/79247/

    The Joker's getting rather, umm... friendly with Batman on the cover.

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