After the events of ‘Endgame’ the cowl has undergone a transition from Bruce Wayne to Jim Gordon, yes, that Jim Gordon, the same beat walking, cigarette smoking, and mustachioed man. Scott Snyder has never shied away from making his Batman completely different from the past 75-plus years. Here in Batman #41, Snyder does the inconceivable and replaces Batman with what seems like a less athletic, less aggressive, and lesser man. Sure, the new suit helps, but is it really Batman?
Geri Powers would like to think so. She’s the CEO of the company that has built the new suit and who only wants Gordon to be Batman. Perhaps Gordon isn’t the toughest or smartest but he’s the best man for the job, he truly knows Gotham. Snyder often works Gotham into his storylines to become more than a city. In his hands, Gotham is transformed into arguably the second largest looming character in Batman. It was easy to think that before the New 52, Gotham was just a city that Wayne ruled, but after ‘The Court of Owls’ it was easy to see that Snyder considered Batman just another player. Gordon has been given the same chance. He’s another player in Gotham, but he can be the Batman the city needs. It takes some convincing, but Gordon decides to don the suit and even shave his iconic mustache!
Comparing Wayne and Gordon is interesting; Gordon’s inner-monologue involves more jokes and a more light-hearted tone. Wayne would often be taciturn and to-the-point. It always felt like Wayne’s Batman knew everything beforehand and Gordon has a little bit of the omnipotence in this issue being able to find where the main villain happened to be staked out. Gordon handles himself well, albeit with a few scratches. Although, it’ll be interesting to see a Batman who, “works within the law.” Gordon’s identity is known to a few who are important in the government and this knowledge may come back to harm him. This new Batman has his feet in two different buckets. There are those who want Batman to do the right thing, but there are also those who want Batman to do the just thing. Gordon will have to toe that line very carefully if he wants to be able to be the best Batman for Gotham.
Snyder continues to work extremely well in the Batman universe. Seeing Gordon in the Batsuit can feel a little kitsch at first glance but he throws enough punches to carry weight. The back-story of becoming Batman is eloquently told and the reluctance of Gordon coupled with the disbelief of Harvey Bullock may give Gordon enough credence to carry out this mission. Snyder dropped the ‘Bruce Wayne is alive bomb’ at the end and that makes the next issue a must-read for any Batman fan.
Greg Capullo continues to excel at making Batman look and feel as incredible as it should. The new Batsuit is a sleek and crushing machine and the “Bat Blimp” may be the best vehicle since the Bat dirt bike. Capullo fills every page with enough action and reaction to fill volumes of other titles and it is magnificent to witness. Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia accentuate what Capullo is doing. The colors of a twilight Gotham make it seem like the sun is either setting or rising on the new Batman. There is also a nice homage to some of the greatest past Batsuits. The art team continues to do justice to Snyder’s storytelling ability.
Sure, Batman was just a man, as Powers points out. But, Batman was always the right man no matter the day. Gordon must become his own pinnacle and not allow his police ties to get in the way of being the Batman he needs to be. Another incredible read in Snyder and Capullo’s Batman run, this series should not be abandoned because a new Batman is the main player.