You see, though I admittedly haven’t followed Grant Morrison’s recent work on the Batman series, least of all the death and return of Bruce Wayne portion of it, with all of the outlandish Batman costume designs being thrown around as of late, I figured we were due for even more craziness.
Color me surprised when I discovered that not only was the costume redesign a helluva’ lot more tasteful than I was expecting, it was also done by Moon Knight and, *sigh…* Messiah Complex artist David Finch was responsible for it.
That being said, let’s take a look at Mr. Finch’s work:
I have to say, not just as a David Finch whore, but as a Batman fan in general, I really don’t mind the new costume.
Most of the changes are quite subtle, with some elements, such as the classic; almost Tim Burton Batman-esque yellow chest emblem, actually being recycled elements from previous designs of the Bat-Suit.
In some images I’ve run across, it seems apparent that DC was trying to cash in on the recent mega-success of the Arkham Asylum videogame, as both the beefier arm guards/gauntlets, the bulkier and more heavily ornamented utility belt, and the molded seam-lines of the suit seem very similar to the art style of the game.
Which reminds me, I simply have to play Arkham Asylum at some point…
The seam-lines I mentioned above are probably the one aspect of the design that I’m on the fence about.
How appropriate that that just happens to be the single most noticeable change from the current status quo.
To me, the best Bat-Suit designs have always been the ones that take advantage of the 2D, pen and paper medium.
In comics, the artist has the ability to manufacture images of characters without having to take into consideration the physical properties of whatever materials their costumes are made of.
Depending on the artist’s sensibilities, or the mood of the story, Batman’s cape and cowl can be rendered as smooth and voluminous as silk, or as heavy and lustrous as leather.
In comics, Batman’s costume usually looks best to me when it’s portrayed as a skin-tight presence surrounding the character.
To me, Batman usually looks best when he isn’t so much wearing a Bat-Suit, as he is embodying it.
Jim Lee’s Batman always struck me as a fantastic, if not ludicrously beefy design.
Aside from the utility belt and heavily detailed boots, every element of Lee’s Bat-Suit strike me as essentially being a part of Bruce Wayne’s anatomy.
Essentially at the other end of the spectrum in terms of costume/character design, Bermejo’s extremely realistic renderings resulted in a Bat-Suit of tangible weight and bulk, so much so that it truly seemed like a suit of armor.
Not only that, but Bermejo’s design of Batman’s cape was truly striking, as it appeared leathery and almost obscenely heavy, such that it assisted in portraying the character as being almost inhumanly powerful and omniscent.
To sum up, Finch’s design of the Bat-Suit is honestly only a mild departure from the status quo, but it’s amazing how much an impact a few seam-lines can make.
Personally, I find the new design to be, how shall we say; “acceptable,” I wouldn’t be surprised if those seam-lines get the axe somewhere down the road, as honestly I find them to be somewhat distracting.
To me, it’s almost as if Finch is trying to straddle the line behind the Christopher Nolan movie’s Bat-Armor design, and the comic’s traditional Bat-Suit, with the end result being a costume that appears almost flight suit-ish.
While I find the design to be acceptable, I’ll end by saying this:
I’d take Jim Aparo or Jim Lee’s streamlined Bat-Suit over David Finch’s Bat-Flight-Suit any day.
That being said, here’s one more look at it for the road: