Batman #51 Written by Scott Snyder Drawn by Greg Capullo …
Snyder and Capullo are charging ahead with this Gordon as Batman plot, but Batman #46 is an issue that shows how many narrative balls they can juggle in the air without really taking the time to get to dive deep into any of those stories. With a lot of characters, Snyder and Capullo spend a little time with character A and then with character B and C before heading back to the beginning again. The snippet of character moments creates the sense of a lot happening, but none of the stories are developed in a completely satisfying way. Luckily, Mr. Bloom carries the weight of the issue, creating a threat for Batmen new and old.
At the end of Batman #45 Mr. Bloom literally crashes Geri Powers’ Batman party/news conference/gathering. Jim Gordon is to step down as the Batman and someone new is to step up. Batman is now not a single person but persons into perpetuity. This feeling of constant change is felt in this issue of Batman. Not only is that cowl supposed to change shoulders but Bruce Wayne wants to change the parts of Gotham that get destroyed the worst only to be rebuilt and cleaned last.
The 43rd issue of Batman drops like a ton of bricks. There have been those who have filled Bruce’s shoes as Batman (Dick Grayson, Jean-Paul Valley and now Jim Gordon), but it has never been imagined that Bruce wouldn’t return to the cowl. The reality in this issue is that Bruce doesn’t want to go back to being Batman because he can’t. Scott Snyder has dreamt up an otherworldly Batman pretense: Batman dies and he is then healed by the Joker’s dionesium, but the brain forgets all his past training, experience, and most importantly, past pain. For the foreseeable future it seems that Bruce Wayne is only going to be Bruce Wayne. The motivation to become the Dark Knight doesn’t exist for Bruce and this changes Gotham expansively.
Jim Gordon is usually confident in his abilities as a cop and willing to admit when he’s outmatched. This perspective is refreshing in Batman #42 as Gordon uses both parts of his personality to bring down this issue’s villain. Gordon is practicing his to be the best Batman, because “Batman doesn’t use guns.” Thus, Gordon is throwing Batarang’s while immersing himself into his new role; his commitment is admirable. For the most part the story is very straightforward: Batman learns of a disturbance, Batman takes care of said disturbance, and everyone loves Batman. But, the great thing about writer Scott Snyder is that he can pull up little pieces of truth in the most formulaic Batman story.
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?
Batman #40 features the battle to end all battles between Batman and the Joker drawn in gory detail by Greg Capullo and Danny Miki, but the scraps of dialogue between the blows and explosion are occasionally weighed down by exposition. Snyder does punch things up in the third act and leave Gotham and the Batman title as wide open as it’s been since the dawn of the New 52. He and Capullo make “Endgame” the dark mirror of Batman Eternal, and it’s interesting to see this storyline fit in the larger context of their run on Batman and the weekly series, which preceded it. Questionable plot devices aside, Batman #40 concludes the “Endgame” in a brutal, personal manner that really shakes up the status quo on this book.
Batman #39 is headed towards another meeting of greatest foes. The Joker has been ahead of Batman at every punch in this arc. To save Gotham Batman must prove again the Joker underestimated him. When it unfolds, Batman will have to become the aggressor and improviser that the Joker has been. If he fails, he’ll become the bat hanging upside down. The Joker has promised his best trick of all, Snyder will deliver.
After spending a year developing the origin and mythos of Batman, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo turn him loose in Batman #35 and show him at his prime fighting some of Earth’s mightiest heroes. The scale of the comic is huge as Batman battles the various Justice League members, and Capullo’s art shows their might in comparison to Batman’s mortality. The comic opens at the Royal Theatre in Gotham, which has spent lots of money on a special crane so there can be a literal “deus ex machina” in a staging of the Oresteia. Snyder and Capullo stage their narrative like a Greek tragedy giving Batman his own fatal flaw in the story. From Batman #35, it seems that the “Endgame” will be looking at Batman as legend while having many twists and turns along the way. Snyder does a good job showing Batman’s unique contingency plans for stopping the Justice League while Capullo shows them in action from Wonder Woman’s window breaking power to Flash’s crackling super speed. If anything, Batman #35 is an argument for why Greg Capullo should draw Justice League. FCO Plascencia continues to set the mood with his colors from the mix of somber and bright coloring in the theatre to Batman’s shadowy greys and blacks and the various color schemes for the Justice League members.