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.
Working off a story from Scott Snyder and James Tynion, Tim Seeley turns in a script for Batman and Robin Eternal #3 that is simultaneously full of bouncy Bat- (or Robin) banter with some choice douchiness from Red Hood and scenes both past and present featuring the dark psychological effects of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. This is somehow connected to the “mysterious” Mother, which our heroes are no closer to finding her identity. But there is still plenty of conflict as Dick Grayson’s Spyral colleague Poppy Ashemoore goes off the reservation, and threat level of the series increases when an important supporting character is put in the crosshairs of Mother and her creepy operatives.
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.
Hosted by the energetic Miz Caramel Vixen, the founder of Vixenvarsity.com, the #BlackComicsMonth Diversity in Comics panel featured a wide variety of panelists from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexualities. They also work in vastly different comics genres from Mildred Louis writing and drawing a Magical Girl webcomic with women of color called Agents of the Realm to David F. Walker, who directed a documentary about the blaxploitation genre and currently writes Cyborg for DC Comics and much more. One of the panelists, Mikki Kendall, only recently broke into comics with the Swords of Sorrow: Lady Rawhide/Miss Fury one-shot and is more well-known for her pieces about intersectional feminism for XoJane, The Guardian, and others as well as prose fiction. Vixen let each panelist speak their mind about what diversity means to them, and they often tied in their thoughts with their comics from Genius (which I scored a free copy of) to Princeless and even Batman.
Batman and Robin Eternal #1 is a genre spanning (superhero and possession horror), kick in the pants start to this weekly comic event. Scott Snyder and James Tynion set up a creepy, overarching storyline for the series by exploring the tragic side of being a Robin. (They don’t usually get out alive.) Artists Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea use speed lines, little circles, and every tool in the action cartoonist’s toolbox to give the comic a hyperactive feel as the various Robins swing, kick, and ride into action while wisely utilizing full page spreads for surprise reveals that burst the nostalgia bubble of “Batman and Robin forever”. By the end of Batman and Robin Eternal #1, readers will see the relationship between the Caped Crusader and his various sidekicks in a new, complicated light.
This year, I will be attending my first ever New York Comic Con with a press pass from Popoptiq.com. I am very excited and a little nervous about getting the chance to rub shoulders with 150,000+ comics, sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and video game fans. (Sorry if I forgot your specific niche.) This year, New York Comic Con is really bringing their A-game as far as panels, guests, and even afterparty opportunities. This year’s guests range from Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto to the casts and writers of upcoming genre TV shows like Sword of Shannara, Ash vs. the Evil Dead, and Legends of Tomorrow and of course, a stacked comics creator lineup from living legends like Chris Claremont and Brian K. Vaughan and relatively new stars like Batgirl artist Babs Tarr and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Jughead artist Erica Henderson.
In this one-shot, writers Scott Snyder and Brian Azzarello have decided to tone down Batman into a simple detective story. Set five years in the past, Batman wants to discover who’s murdered a fifteen year-old boy; sounds easy enough. But the world of Gotham is never as calm as it seems. Batman treks throughout the city questioning the likes of The Penguin, the leader of a local gang, and a GCPD detective, but in the end discovers that the young man’s demise came from the young man himself, via Mr. Bloom. Batman wasn’t there to save the young man and in the process learns that he doesn’t know as much about his home as he thought; a staple of the Snyder-era Batman run.
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?
2015 has been quite the eclectic year for comics, and this fact is reflected in our top ten list. Image Comics continues to be the true house of ideas with books ranging from a feminist twist on exploitation films to a murder mystery set in 1940s Hollywood and even a LGBTQ-friendly parody of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Even though they are in the middle of big events (Convergence and Secret Wars), DC and Marvel respectively still have room for offbeat takes on their iconic or not so iconic characters and are represented on this list along with Valiant, which has attracted a veritable Murderer’s Row of creator to shape and develop their shared universe.