When it comes to Scott Snyder’s Batman you know you’re in for a big story that gets you hooked and then craving the following issue come last page. Last month Batman made us all want to know what Alfred might do when Bruce came storming in. This issue reveals that and more, but is it good?
Batman #49 (DC Comics)
Mr. Bloom is taking over Gotham and Bruce Wayne wants to do whatever it takes to stop him. Problem is he has no memory of being Batman nor a memory of his parents dying. With the lack of inspiration to fight crime and the loss of the fighting and technical aspects that make Batman great how could he ever take back the cape and cowl? This issue explains just that!
Why does this book matter?
Scott Snyder has written a magnum opus over and over with this character. From an epic Joker story that left Alfred without a hand to the Court of Owls he’s proven Batman is a character that will never die. The character is a modern myth and this story continues that trend.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is written by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder with art by Yanick Paquette and it traverses time and space! The issue opens with Mayor Bruce Wayne discussing his next actions with his friends who embody the Court of Owls. It’s a bizarre scene which cross cuts with Bruce confronting Alfred about being the hero he was born to be. Last we left Alfred he was in tears with the thought that Bruce had somehow remembered he was Batman. It was touching and upsetting and this issue aims to continue to pull on that dynamic.
Epic is a good word to describe this issue particularly because it seems to be showcasing Batmans of other dimensions; they face trials and even death and our version of Bruce Wayne must make a hard choice to leave his peaceful life with his perfect girlfriend and become the broken but dedicated hero we all love. I really can’t say more without spoiling the big choice he must make, but I can say the issue effectively puts Alfred into a fatherly role that’s believable and pushes the conflict even further.
The art by Paquette is solid (which is a great word to describe his style too!) with plenty of double page spreads (intermixed with circles of our other dimension Batman characters) that are gorgeous. A white-costumed version of Batman who faces a giant beast is particularly cool, especially Batman’s Men in Black 3-esque Bat motorcycle. The last few panels in particular are incredibly dramatic and suit the cataclysmic scene.
It can’t be perfect can it?
You’re going to need a strong suspension of disbelief to make this story work. Ultimately those of you who love the street level Batman might dislike the big reveal in this issue. Scott Snyder hasn’t shied away from big science fiction ideas and there’s a whopper here.
Unfortunately there are a few explanations I simply did not buy in this issue. It might be a case where more explanation is coming to clarify things, but a certain character claims they knew something all along and a certain character simply knows something will work. It doesn’t feel earned. Save for these blips it’s still solidly told and brings on a huge story and effectively delivers it in the short single issue format.
Don’t say it don’t say it!
Is It Good?
Batman #41 works in large part because of the writer’s ability to crosscut and balance multiple elements very well. This story builds towards its climax in a very satisfying way.