BAT­MAN: EUROPA

Euro­pean Va­ca­tion

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! Pub­lisher DC

Writer Brian Az­zarrello

Artists Jim Lee, Giuseppe Ca­muncoli

With all the Bat- books cur­rently crowd­ing comic- book shelves, you’d be for­given for not notic­ing Bat­man: Europa. It’s worth hunt­ing out, though. Europa fea­tures a great high- con­cept – Bat­man and the Joker are in­fected with the same vil­lain’s virus, and must work to­gether on a cure, vis­it­ing var­i­ous Euro­pean cities. It shares a writer with The Mas­ter Race ( Brian Az­zarrello). And it has the artist be­hind seis­mic Bat- event Hush, Jim Lee. Back in 2004, he in­tended to ink the whole run, but the artist’s sched­ule saw the pro­ject de­layed by a decade.

Lee’s inks – al­ways in­cred­i­ble – have an anime in­flu­ence, with scratchy lines giv­ing each panel the feel of ex­treme move­ment; it’s more like watch­ing a car­toon than read­ing a comic. Any­one ex­pect­ing Hush part two will be sur­prised – Lee’s take here is very dif­fer­ent. The Joker looks more like a pop star than the Fun­house- mir­ror freak of that book.

Az­zarrello also de­vi­ates, with his hard- boiled Bat- tone re­placed by hu­mour and fun. Lee leaves on is­sue two, with Giuseppe Ca­muncoli’s more im­pres­sion­is­tic style match­ing the ef­fects of the virus; as Bats gets more fever­ish, so do the vi­su­als. Short at four parts; grab it be­fore it’s gone. Sam Ashurst

Bat­man: Europa was in­spired by a year Jim Lee spent work­ing in Reg­gio Emilia, a town in north­ern Italy.

Bats doesn’t smile at the best of times.

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