Writer Scott Snyder is good at making old things new again. He’s done it with Joker, Batman (a few times over now) and even vampires. You could say he’s good at playing God, which is ever more apparent this week with the first text reading, “In the beginning there was nothing…” This issue aims to express the optimism that anyone can be Batman, an interesting concept, but is it good?
Batman #45 (DC Comics)
This issue opens with Jim Gordon AKA Batman in deep trouble. He’s getting his ass whooped and clearly needs help. In his narration he speaks about how he’s used to backup showing up and Batman saving the day only this time he’s Batman. It’s a clever intro as it establishes how Jim is still learning and Batman isn’t as powerful as he used to be. This is a brand new world for Batman and it’s not at all what we’re used to.
Why does this comic book matter?
Snyder is building up Batman to be more than just a man in a cape but a symbol. Seeing as Batman is a government operation now branding and marketing are important to keep the public interested. Of course Jim Gordon is in the suit risking life and limb, but because of this bigger meaning to the figure he’s almost a martyr. Bruce Wayne is still in the picture and we’ve never seen him like this before. He has lost his fighting skills, his memory and detective know how yet it’s interesting to see his worldview now that he has a blank slate. Did his parents’ death create Batman or is it something else within him that brings on the hero?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Let’s forget about Batman for a second and talk about the coolest element of this book and that’s Bloom. This new villain is horrific and extremely dangerous. He kills with impunity and he does it viciously with these weird sharp tiny vines. It’s freaky. He doesn’t get a ton of play here, but makes a grand unveiling that’s definitely putting Batman in a corner.
Snyder has a heavy dialogue issue on his hands here as he has characters talk about the fallout from Joker’s Endgame to Hadron Colliders and the search for new elements on the periodic table. The subjects are compelling and there’s some symbolism at work here that make you think.
The opening action sequence is also fantastic and once again artist Greg Capullo can do no wrong. He makes this opening sequence pretty gruesome and if it weren’t for the narration I’d think he was a goner for sure. I don’t think Capullo gets enough credit for keeping dialogue heavy scenes interesting. Considering two of these scenes involve characters simply standing around Capullo swings the view around them in interesting ways to feel at least moderately cinematic.
Anyone else find it interesting Bruce collects Joker items even when he’s no longer Batman?
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s certainly not perfect and that’s mostly due to the verbose scenes that drag down the pace. I’ve come to the conclusion Snyder has a lot to say but not a lot of issues to say it. Take for instance this issue. A lot of the dialogue could have been spread over two or three issues intermixed with action, but instead we get a dump of info and long winded explanations. It doesn’t suit the format and I can’t imagine it’d work in a movie either. It’s prose that could work in a book as we wind through the dialogue like a snaking trail, but in a visual medium it gets old fast.
Sharks as weapons…
Is It Good?
Some interesting elements make this a fine issue as Bruce subtly reveals he might do something heroic yet and Jim Gordon is still compelling as he attempts to find his Batman footing.