DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee returns to illustratring in January, and to Batman, in the first issue of the new four-issue limited series Batman: Europa, co-written by Brian Azzarello and Matteo Casali.
The remaining three issues of the monthly series will be illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Diego Latorre, and Jock, respectively.
According to DC, in Batman: Europa, "the impossible has happened - the Batman is on the brink of defeat, at the hands of a virus with no cure. Surely there's someone that can help him? Well, there is - the Joker. Who infected Batman with the virus? What does the Joker have to do to save him? And how can it all happen before the Dark Knight collapses? Together, the unlikely teammates and arch-foes travel through Europe cobbling together clues while the clock ticks down."Batman: Europa was originally announced by DC six years ago, with some of the creative details remaining the same. Here are portions of the original press release from October 20, 2004:
TOP ARTIST JIM LEE SPEARHEADS COLLABORATION FOR MINISERIES THAT TEAMS BATMAN WITH THE JOKERLook for more information on the series in the coming weeks...
DC Comics announces BATMAN: EUROPA, an upcoming fully painted miniseries spearheaded by Jim Lee and featuring both U.S. and continental European contributors.
Lee, fan-favorite artist and Editorial Director of DC's progressive WildStorm imprint, recently returned from a year living with his family in Italy and immersing himself in the Italian comics community.
Says Lee, "I had the chance to meet some fantastic creators throughout Europe, so it was just natural to try and set up projects spotlighting some of them who have never worked on DC characters before."
BATMAN: EUROPA will be cowritten by Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS, SUPERMAN) and Matteo Casali (Bonerest, Quebrada). Each issue will be illustrated by a different artist, showcasing their distinctive styles as Batman - and his unexpected ally the Joker - track a mysterious foe through Paris, Berlin, Prague, and, finally, Rome. The debut issue's illustrator is Lee, followed by Giuseppe Camuncoli (THE INTIMATES, SWAMP THING). Gabriele Dell'Otto (Secret War) will provide art for the fourth issue. The third issue's artist will be announced as soon as the choice is finalized.
Lee added more on the genesis of the project. "Giuseppe (or Cammo as he is better known) and I shared studio space for a year in Reggio Emilia, and we would sit around and talk about projects at our informal second 'studio' - the brasserie - and over drinks, we would talk comics with Matteo. Out of those talks came this idea to do something involving a diverse and eclectic group of creators. After several late-night phone calls to Brian Azzarello, we came up with a storyline which would pit Batman against his greatest villains and best showcase the individual talents coming together for this unique project."