Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Snyder, Capullo & Glapion
Scott Snyder knows how to put together an excellent story and an entertaining, individual comic book. He’s done this with his creator-owned works, such as American Vampire, and with franchise-level properties, such as Batman. He never disappoints. The latest issue of Batman breaks out of his established storytelling style as he plunges Batman into the void of his own consciousness. It’s a good read but is definitely a departure from the usual Batman or Scott Snyder story.
Batman is missing. The bookends of the comic book center around the Bat-signal and the Commissioner’s acknowledgement of Batman’s absence. This helps to ground the story in Batman’s world and it helps to show how that world is coping without Batman.
Everything else in this issue deals with Batman and where he is being held captive. Batman appears to be drugged as he wanders around a maze. The maze creates either physical illusions or the illusions are of the mind, that are basically showing Batman how he a) doesn’t matter and b) isn’t unique. The book is understandably dialogue-light so the comic relies heavily on the artwork.
Capullo channels his inner Frank Miller in this issue. He has nailed Batman acting insane in this book. Batman looks ragged and mentality beaten and this comes across perfectly in the issue. The aspect of the book that works really well is the panel layouts. The first double page spread where Batman is lurking in the shadows is simply brilliant and is worthy of the greatest of Batman artist renditions. Capullo carries this story to a level it simply couldn’t reach with just any artist.
The book has two major problems and both center around Grant Morrison. Morrison’s RIP storyline had Batman being drugged and losing his personality as his default reboot personality took over. The first problem here is: what makes this situation different? The Morrison RIP story introduced a new villain, much like this story, but it was the involvement of the Joker that helped legitimize the threat. What about this story makes the reader believe that Batman is in any danger and can’t get out of this? This just hasn’t been established yet.
One other concept that didn’t click with me was that of the upside-down pages. To be frank, I assumed my book was put together wrong. I get that Batman’s world was being turned upside-down just as the reader’s, but to have the dialogue boxes upside-down as well and the page order reversed created a problem if the book was turned upside-down to read it. The flow was messed up which made me think my book was an error book, which has happened several times in the last few years. This wasn’t a gimmick at all but I felt the effectiveness was lost because I stalled too much trying to determine if the comic was constructed properly.
Snyder is treading in some dangerous waters at this point. He’s delving into territory that is occupied by the elite writers of the character. It’s a high risk, high reward situation. Some are going to find that this book is brilliant and helps solidify Snyder’s mark on the character. While others might find this to have a been-there-done-that feel from the Morrison run. I find myself in the middle but don’t be misunderstood; this is an entertaining issue with fantastic artwork. I’m fully charged to see where this is heading. I definitely recommend picking this book up.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles