Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo & Danny Miki, Yannick Paquette (Epilogue)
Publisher: DC Comics
This book was good but I felt like it was good out of necessity. The story arc from issue #41 onwards of the ongoing Batman series has been quite an long ride of us following Jim Gordon who has now created a Batman police-mech task force that he leads as Gotham’s new Batman, while post-Endgame Bruce Wayne has lost all his memories of being Batman and runs his corporation while helping people as a billionaire. This set up has us witnessing Jim have to deal with a seed/drug dealing villain who deals seeds that give people elongating powers and random other powers as well. The villain has a cool design to him with a slender man creepiness as well, and he is an unpredictable foe who seems to be reaching many people on the streets with his seeds. The story arc overall had its memorable moments but was largely a miss for me as the bunny styled mech-suit and the somehow badass out of nowhere Jim Gordon never felt quite right. It wasn’t so much the aesthetic that was the problem I have with the arc but rather the feeling I had mid way through the arc where I realized I didn’t care about Jim Gordon or the villain Bloom or Bruce Wayne and the end of the arc was very predictable from early on. The moments that were outstanding such as when Endgame-reset Bruce Wayne meeting Endgame-reset Joker in the park or Yannick Paquette’s issue #49 where Bruce Wayne retrieves all of his memories from the cloning/memory implanting machine (which was referred to in the really intriguing ‘free comic book’ issue of Batman: Detective Comics #27) really balanced the turn-offs of the Batman series. Issue #50 is a perfect example of blandness being offset by enjoyable moments which can also be said about the story arc as a whole.
Issue #50 from a readers standpoint is a milestone however I feel like the cover price of $5.99 is an unjustified increase in purchase price. This is not only over priced but also a telltale warning of things to come. Without getting too into the subject, cover prices have gone up tremendously on the Batman comics with a $3.99 standard issue and $4.99 price point being set on books with more pages/content in the series was price gouging for DC’s best selling series’. Readers of the Batman series are now being forced to pay these premium prices (currently $6ish USD – $8ish CAD) and we’re not allowed to put our foot down as we have to buy the last piece of the book to get the full story. This trend alone heavily influences my decision to stop buying Batman/DC comics but that is next to the other trend we are seeing where events are half-heartedly proposed to raise funds *cough* convergencewastheworst *cough* and the best way to stop this trend is to vote with your wallets.
This is the big issue we have all been waiting for and while it had great moments, there was a lot of things that really didn’t sit well with me. The issue opens strong with Bruce Wayne/Batman gearing up in the really cool looking new suit and heading out to Gotham to fight Bloom but then when we see them fighting Jim Gordon in the gurney nearly dead seizing up after being Bloom’s ragdoll, the amounts that Jim pushes himself after this point is just straight up unbelievable to the point that it was almost too much. The story finally got around to explaining the seeds and their functions in more detail as well as the origins of Bloom in more detail, and while this is great content in this book it seemed to be a little too late as the villain was undersold in the previous issues of this story arc. After that point in the issue the art was almost so beautiful that I almost missed the fact that this issue glossed over an exciting moment where regular sized Batman is fighting about 6 giant bat-mechs each customized as different Batman villains, and the book immediately skips ahead in time to Batman being in a bat-mech himself. I was excited to see how Batman would get out of being outnumbered by giant mechs surrounding him, but instead we miss out on whatever exciting happened and personally I was instantly disappointed at this point. The book escalates really fast into a showdown with Bloom and Batman which then leads to Bloom being fused with an energy nuke all while Jim Gordon tells us that Batman inspires people to be everyday heroes. The day is saved by I-can’t-believe-its-not-dead Jim Gordon and the villain is taken down by frequency waves somehow stopping the energy nuke. Cut to Jim Gordon in the hospital bed with his signature mustache now grown in and him being reinstated as commissioner with Harvey Bullock by his side again. The epilogue essentially tied up the loose ends while we simmer on having our Batman back!
Batman #50 was an absolutely beautiful comic as Greg Capullo makes magic on each page with his signature style choices and great page layouts all melding together. Capullo really brought our favourite Batman back with him punching elongated turkeys in their necks, showing off the spiffy new Bat-suit, and taking on giant problems. The warped feeling to Bloom was enhanced in this issue as he was the largest we have seen him get, along with the energy nuke warping his features even more. The colours must be noted as this issue had a lot of bright and dark tonal colours to it with the bright blue/white energy nuke and Capullo made great choices with his dynamic art in front of that energy in the backgrounds of a lot of scenes. The colours always enhance Capullo’s art in a big way with the Batman series throughout the New 52 and into the end of his run. Snyder always has big plans set in motion and I enjoy his writing and generally trust him with Batman, especially when he has Greg Capullo to illustrate his writing into reality. This story arc and the decision to make Jim Gordon Gotham’s new Batman felt undercooked and while following this book hasn’t been a terrible ride, it has also not been a very memorable ride either. Endgame was a great story arc that had a lot of genuine suspense & excitement to it and it had highly memorable moments but this latest story arc felt more like a way to deal with the fallout of Endgame in the Batman universe with everything going on, as well as to tie Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder’s Batman run together as they are coming to the end of their work together on Batman ongoing. It can’t go without saying that Yannick Paquette does beautiful art when it comes to Batman and I was happy to have him capping off this story arc with his stellar work on issue #49 and the epilogue of this issue.
I would not recommend this story arc or single issue to Batman fans as it really isn’t about the Batman that fans generally know & love but rather feels like a vehicle to get the message across that everyone can be a hero. While that does have its merits in writing and I can respect that writing choice, I feel like it just wasn’t a great payoff as most of the 10 issue story arc was frankly boring and anti-climactic at the end (much like ‘Death of the Family’ in Snyder & Capullo’s Batman run). Hopefully ‘Reboot‘, DC’s rebirth of their comic book universe/book lineup, has a team as good as Snyder & Capullo has been with Batman as they have done some of the most spectacular work with Batman comics in decades. This review might seem a little harsh, but while not everything can be gold it is still impressive to be getting chunks of gold in piles of silver. Thank you, Greg and Scott, for your years of creating Batman greatness!
~ T.J Head