Batman #41 Review...
I had another pick in line and then I read Snyder/Capullo’s Batman and then it was a no brainer. Be sure to pick up Batman/Superman #21 as well though. It has some very poignant dialogue. Clark speaks to a very down and out Alfred. Batman has died. Alfred sees Clark getting a bit dark, very angry, and unstable. He tells Clark “I just ask one thing. Let him rest in peace. For his sake…and yours. His greatest gift to you was to be the shadow that let your light shine. That darkness was for him, not you.” That is some amazing insight and very profound I felt. Before we get to Batman #41, I have a quick rant about Divergent (not the movie). You need to read Divergent before reading this issue of Batman but I want to talk a quick second about Superman. Louis exposes Superman’s secret. Now everyone knows. No, I have to say, I wish that this was done in an actual Superman title or Action Comics or even in an event. This is huge news and has an immense impact. When I started reading Batman/Superman, Clark was upset by how everyone knew and I had NO clue why. I went back to the Superman series with Romita Jr and nothing indicated that was going to happen or did happen. I went to Batman/Superman #20. Nothing. I checked Action Comics. Nothing. I understand that DC felt that everyone would read this and what better way to spread the word than on free comic book day. For me, that isn’t how you do it. Do it in the big boy titles. End rant.
Anyway, on to the main course. If you have been a bit behind, let me fill you in. In “Endgame,” the last few issues from Snyder and Capullo, we see Batman fighting the Joker in a cave. They both take some really good hits, both seem to be dying, the cave collapses and there is no way of escape. This seems to indicate that Batman is dead (and what a cool way to go, taking down the devil once and for all.) Well, flash forward a few months and we see a Gotham that is in need of a Batman. In Divergent, Jim is asked if he would become Batman. This was pretty shocking to me and I was excited how Snyder was going to pull it off. The answer: very well.
The books pacing is great as we see flashbacks to Gordon’s reluctance to become Batman and then to today when his first day as Batman is starting. I really enjoy the hesitant Gordon. The idea seems a bit crazy because it is. Gordon doesn’t feel he could possibly fit in those shoes. He is old, he isn’t a highly trained martial artist. He doesn’t work outside of the law. In a way though, he is a perfect fit. He is the best
man for the job yet he wants it the least. He is noble and tries his best to do the right thing. He doesn’t seek accolade. He seeks truth. We see other men training in bat suits trying to prove their worth, yet the most worthy is the one looking down upon them.
The conversation he has with Harvey was very interesting as they sparred one another over the merits of him being Batman. Harvey brings up all the misgivings that reader also may have. One was his age. I have to say I know plenty of 45 year olds that can
kick some tail. Jim has the same misgivings but like a boss, he chooses…wisely. We get to see Gordon SANS THE MUSTACHE! He also has a short cut, almost looking like a mohawk. Awesome look. He was former military, so it isn’t that much of a stretch. He is ripped too! It reminds me a bit of when Bruce had his shaved head in Zero Year. He was going to war. Perhaps Gordon is doing the same thing.
We have already seen the mantle taken up by other Bat Family members which begs the question: why doesn’t Dick Grayson step up? What of Tim Drake? In fact, where are any of the Bat Family? Then I arrived to the conclusion that it is time for something new and fresh and we get that. Gordon realized that Batman, as a symbol, is extremely important. It is a deterrent and also inspiring. This new Batman is going to have checks and balances. I think also that as this story unfolds we will see Gordon understanding more and more about Batman’s methods and realize sometimes you have to act outside of the law, you have to take impossible chances. Not everything is black and white. That is just my guess though. Where will that line be?
As far as the design of the suit goes, I love it. People have criticized it mightily but I like different. I liked the mech suit he had for fighting the Justice League and the mech suit he had on while fighting the Court. People disliked it so much that there was an in joke in this comic where people said it looked like a robobat bunny. I like
that Snyder can role with the punches, but the criticism is frustrating. It is a killer design. How cool was it that the suit changes colors? We saw several iterations of Batman on display, from Grand Morrison’s wacky design to the Zero Year design. Very cool. It is interesting that they specifically state this suit has nothing to do with Wayne Enterprises or Lucious Fox. It is totally disconnected, though they both approved it. I wonder where that will lead. Why cut ties with what Wayne Enterprises could potentially offer?
I also enjoyed the suit within the mech suit. The black and yellow always resonates with me. The design is flawless in my opinion. Nothing fancy except the gun strapped to his side. Snyder said it makes a nice silhouette. You still recognize it as Batman or someone in the Bat family. The cape not being there is an interesting choice. That seems like a very integral part of who Batman is. We will see how that changes things.
The action was alright in this issue. I did love seeing the blimp as Gordon leapt into action. We see that the signal shining but instead of the signal showing in the sky, it is showing on the ground, highlighting were Batman will be, or at least the action. It is meant to show how crazy and upside down the city has become without Batman. It was cool seeing Gordon in action, working in conjunction with the police. I loved his inner monologue: “First, you’re not plummeting. You are swooping. Second, you did not leave the stove on. Third, that doesn’t even matter, because you are not Jim Gordon. Not today. Not anymore. Right here, right now…you..are…the Batman.” The villain was just not very compelling here. One thing I did really enjoy was when Batman (or Gordman? Does that sound better?) first throws his device to take out the villain. Gave me the chills.
There were a few things that I wasn’t too dazzled by. The villain for one as I stated earlier. His creation looked a bit silly. It was what surrounded the story that was awesome. I don’t know how I feel about Gordon having a gun as Batman. I can see the pros and cons of both. One last thing. I don’t like how this issue seems to portray Batman is some crazed vigilant who doesn’t do things the right way. He doesn’t kill people, he has saved the city 5000 times, and he has proven his worth over and over. Some of his methods can be extreme, but when I think of those methods, they are mostly extreme on his body and mind, not necessarily on the city or individuals. There are certainly cases where he has gone over the line but it has generally worked out. Gotham doesn’t need a better, more lawful Batman or a new person being Batman. Gotham just needs Batman.
In the final page, we see a man on a bench with his back towards us. Another man walks by and says “Bruce?” A great cliffhanger. Maybe he is just retiring a bit to see what the city can become without him? I’m not suggesting he is willing to watch the city burn, but maybe he is seeing who will step up to the plate? Perhaps he feels he is the reason all the terrible things in Gotham have happened and he doesn’t want to punish the city any longer. If Batman leaves, perhaps the people he negatively inspired will leave too. Maybe he needs a break after the Joker has just taken him too far, both mentally and physically and he feels he has nothing else to offer? He looks broken and understandably so. When will he take up the mantle again? When will the Bat family join up again? What will Barbara Gordon think of the new Batman? All exciting things to come.
I really loved this issue, obviously. As I said, the villain was underwhelming but this issue was much more character driven in a very strong way. Capullo is a master as always in this. Placencia is equal to the task Capullo asks. The suits were great, the issue was great. The stories that follow are going to be unique and unpredictable. We have never seen this before so enjoy the ride!