Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV, Alex Maleev
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Let me just start off by saying that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (with the notable regular backup story script assist by James Tynion IV) are absolutely killing it with this title on a consistent and monthly basis. There is simply no such thing as a filler issue or a calm storyline with these guys leading the charge. And this issue is absolutely no exception to the standard that I as a lifelong Batman fan have come to expect from this dynamic team of creators. They make comics fun and challenging and really take the medium to a whole new level, which is surprisingly much more difficult to do as time goes by and these characters go through writer after writer and artist after artist on a weekly basis.
But enough praise. And onto the story itself. We had a nice single issue story last month dealing with both the ramifications of Death of the Family and the recent events over in Grant Morrison’s now legendary run on Batman Incorporated. But Snyder and company spent no time at all throwing us loyal readers right back into the action of this next storyline. Now, with the whole gimmick of DC’s “WTF” cover month, I was a bit skeptical, even of my favorite titles, but this one certainly not only fit the editorial command of “do something crazy on the cover!” as well as “but make it work and not completely ruin your comic in the process,” which is not only admirable, but downright impressive. So even though not a whole lot happens in this issue, there’s plenty of action (what with Bruce Wayne apparently not only holding up a bank and shooting longtime friend and father figure, Commissioner Gordon, but also revealing to him that he is in fact Batman), emotion (showing Bruce play over countless recordings of his deceased son, Damian), and mystery (as in, what the hell is going on in those opening pages and how does that not break everything that every single Batman creator has ever written). I mean, yeah, it’s obviously Clayface behind it all, but the big question isn’t ever the “how” in a Batman book. It’s always the “why.” And this is just the beginning of a new storyline, so we’ll just have to keep on reading to see for ourselves just what Snyder has planned.
But I’m leaving out my two favorite pieces of the issue. First, the backup story, written by Tynion and featuring art by one of my personal favorites, Alex Maleev, is a short and creepy little story about Batman enlisting (or rather, accepting) the help of Superman in solving the newest string of disturbing occurrences in Gotham. Let’s just say that it involves the occult and Maleev’s art has never been grittier. My second favorite part is a seeming throw-away line from Gordon at the beginning of the issue, where he mentions “Zero Year.” Now, for those of you who don’t know, that is the title of the next epic event Snyder has planned for the Bat. And you know me, I love hints and teasers and previews as much as the next fanboy. But this just seemed so much cooler than when lesser writers do it. Maybe that’s just me, but I personally really enjoyed it. Probably more than I was meant to. All in all, this was another solid issue that is worth not only one read, but multiple.
My Rating: 5/5