Review: Batman/Dylan Dog #1

“Batman/Dylan Dog” – Book One
Writer: Roberto Recchioni
Artists: Gigi Cavenago and Werther Dell’Edera
Color Artist: Giovanna Niro
Letterer:  Pat Brosseau
Review by Carl Bryan

Batman/Dylan Dog #1 provides us with a team-up we didn’t know we needed; Batman and Italian comics hero Dylan Dog.  After being announced six years ago, perhaps many fans never thought this team-up would ever actually happen. Now, readers will finally get their chance to watch the two heroes join forces to take on their arch-nemeses, the Joker and Professor Xabaras.

Throw in some Killer Croc, Catwoman, and Alfred, along with Dylan Dog’s sidekick Groucho (wait…what?) and Inspector Bloch, and you have quite the cast of characters.

If Hell is bad, it’s because we made it in our own image… or maybe… it’s just Heaven but everyone’s drunk! ”
– The Joker.

Hey, this looks familiar yet… different?

Giovanna Niro provides colors akin to Image Comics’ brilliant Blood Stained Teeth, and it works. Joker’s coif in green, his purple suit, and his loaded revolver pop immediately off the first few pages of the book.

We get murder, Kidnapping, and a walk down memory lane right from the beginning, as we see Joker and Xabaras have something in common. All of this brings a new lens to Joker’s origin (or the many incarnations of his origin). Think 1986 Joker, but way more Frank Miller. Speaking of Frank Miller, the art by Cavenago and Dell’Edera is very “Frank Milleresque.”  Batman’s big, and agile and engulfs the frames of the pages, there’s no lean Bruce in this book!

Dylan Who?

I’ve long been a fan of Batman Team-Ups, since the days of The Brave and The Bold. We could do the entire Forrest Gump recitation of shrimp recipes if needed; Batman and Robin, World’s Finest, The DC Trinity, Batman Incorporated, Batman and Captain America, Batman and Daredevil, Batman and Spawn, Batman and Spiderman, Batman and Spawn, Batman and The Incredible Hulk… whew!  I think you get the picture.

All those characters are household names, but who is Dylan Dog?  This one threw me even more because it was originally published in Italy, back in 2022. We’re only now getting the first few issues in March 2024, in the rest of the world.

Part Sherlock Holmes, Part Clarinet Player, with a dash of comedic humor, and his very own butler, Groucho. Based graphically on actor Ruper Everett, Dylan Dog is a series that focuses on a Nightmare Investigator who lives on 7 Craven Road (a direct reference to Wes Craven). He specializes in the undead arts and protecting good monsters while slaying bad ones. He’s also cute which attracts Selina Kyle to the scene!

So, picture a kinder John Constantine with a butler who was a Groucho Marx impersonator who became the character permanently. Whew!

A Formula: “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us!”

If you’ve ever read a Batman Team Up story then you’ll know that the Joker’s usually the main antagonist and will team up with the other hero’s arch-enemy (ie, see Spawn/Batman versus Joker/Clown). The heroes go through some verbal sparring and then some real sparring and then subsequently find common ground as they seek to defeat the villainous duo. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

Groucho and Alfred serve as dry and over-the-top comic relief, while Selina’s cast as the love interest for both heroes. Typically, she gets injured in the fray which brings them both together. This isn’t a spoiler, it’s a sure thing. Rinse, Wash, Repeat.

Joker and Groucho…sigh what could have been?

Okay, Joker and Groucho were a pair I didn’t see coming. We also get a make-shift Bat Signal and some nods to prior character conversations… I’ll take those Easter Eggs!

Conclusion

The premise, the art, and the colors in Batman/Dylan Dog #1 are fantastic, but the adventure itself is very formulaic. Future issues need to provide a bit more meat on the bone in terms of why the Joker is even in this particular fight, otherwise, all we have is a combination of Batman and the latest novelty that may be more akin to Austin Powers than John Constantine!

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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