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.