Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Greg Capullo
Inker: Danny Miki
Colours: FCO Plascencia
Letterer: Nick Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics
Last month’s issue of Batman, Batman #24, is a classic. It is not only a love letter to Batman’s lore, but it also took Zero Year from a novelty event and transformed it into a modern day piece of art that will be praised long after we are all gone. On that note, it may seem like Batman #25 faces a bit of an upward battle. Not only does it follow an instant classic, but it’s the first issue that plunges Gotham and readers into the much touted “Dark City” storyline. Fortunately for us, this is Snyder and Capullo we are talking about, so while it may not hit Red-Hood-Gang-heights, issue #25 is still an enjoyable read.
The issue itself starts with a cold open that features a group of soldiers who come across an underground bunker in the desert. This opening features glorious colour work from FCO Plascencia, who drenches the panels in burning sunlight. Readers better soak in the light, because after that, things get dark, really dark. With Gotham now plunged in complete darkness and a super storm on the way, the cops are working overtime to help the people of Gotham capture the Batman. To make matters worse, there is a new serial killer in town who calls himself Dr. Death. With his plate full and the fun of being a masked vigilante starting to take its toll, it’s only a matter of time before the city starts to boil over and Bruce loses control of himself and the world around him.
While the many threads and storylines have the potential to drown this origin story, Snyder knows how to weave his masterpiece. Batman #25 forms a macabre masterpiece filled with more of the same haunting imagery and loving winks to everything that makes Batman great. What makes this Batman unique is how Snyder manages to manipulate the superhero genre to fit his needs. He satisfies the readers want of over-the-top heroics, here with the introduction of the bat-mobile, yet he also secretly feeds us a story we never knew we needed. He’s intentionally made Batman the best horror book on the shelves, whether readers are aware of this or not.
Of course, Snyder isn’t the only one responsible for this, and given Greg Capullo’s Spawn roots, its no surprise that DC has paired up a creative tour de force. For someone with as much experience as Capullo, it’s a wonder how he still manages to outdo himself. From the disfigured victims of Dr. Death to the brand new/old Batmobile, Batman #25 is a treat for the eyes. Plascencia continues to use the 1980s colour palette to his advantage as well, offering up panel after panel of retro reverence.
Often an unsung hero in the series, Nick Napolitano’s lettering is impressive as anyone elses work. Snyder loves to write and Napolitano manages to showcase Snyder’s words with expert precision. The conversations flow seamlessly yet are never intrusive. They are just another piece of a gorgeous puzzle.
While it may not be the classic that issue #24 is, Batman #25 still keeps the series in the upper echelon of literature. The new arc serves as a shocking stopgap for Zero Year which will continue on its way toward an undoubtedly horrific ending.