Thursday, July 30, 2015

Batman by Scott Snyder issue #42

Was that really Jimbo? I did not recognize him with that new haircut and the canon-lack of kickass mustache. And the glasses too. I can't help but think about Ben McKenzie from Fox's GOTHAM while reading this issue which was weird considering he was written in a show that operates on a pre-Batman state of things while Snyder's Gordon for this arc is dealing with a post-Batman world. In fact, I can easily picture said actor himself playing out the scenes for this 42nd issue which personally for me is a good thing because I love McKenzie's youthful and often hot-headed take on the character for the show.

This version of Gordon as the deputized Batman in robo-suit is granted still a polarizing one but the arc Superheavy is laying down some more solid groundwork for this second installment. I remain trusting of Snyder even if his opening issue after Bruce Wayne's "death" and in some ways this follow-up delivered. In other ways, it left me just slightly unsatisfied and baffled mostly due to the fact that it's been such a slow burn and hopefully for now.

When I think about Scott Snyder writing Batman, I think about the man's amazing knack for treating Gotham not just as a setting or backdrop but rather as a character in itself. So far, I don't get this from him anymore. After all, both Batman and the Joker just had the face-off to end all face-offs and yet we never really got to see its impact on the city itself in the aftermath. Instead we had an issue concerning the search for a replacement, to have a law enforcement-sponsored Batman with a technology backed up by the still elusive Powers Industries. As much as I was on board with the idea of Jim Gordon putting on the cowl (a robobatbunny upgrade at that), I don't really see the purpose. In addition, there is a nagging question at the back of my head that needed to be addressed here before we go further in my reviews for the post-Convergence Bat-stories:

Does Gotham City still need Batman? Or a Batman?

I don't know. And, shockingly enough, I don't care. I am done with Gotham City. I only realized this now. Should I still give a shit if this crime-infested, hell-spawned and haunted city won't just tear itself apart into oblivion? Well, Gordon apparently still believes I should. We all should keep caring even citizens of Gotham which are incomprehensibly still sticking around for the bonfire and massacres. Because, reasons. You're only a Gothamite if you're a little bit insane and reckless yourself to stay in a place so rife with madness and discord. But is there really a point reading a Batman arc without Bruce Wayne as the Dark Knight? But, then again, Batman is an abstract, unkillable idea so should it matter who wears the cowl or the bat-bunny ears? As long as Gotham is a fucking mess, there will always be a Batman. That's all there is to it.

So how does Scott Snyder and co. approach this? Taking all the time in the world which isn't a bad thing. Everything about this arc is still finding its footing. Jimbo is struggling. Julia is supportive. Their interactions are agreeable enough and she definitely takes after her dad as she tries to appease and reassure Jim that he doesn't need to emulate his predecessor; he needs to be the Batman of his own choosing regardless of whatever outside politics involved. Visually, Capullo, Miki and Plascencia are superb together, enlivening the panels with the right mixtures of colors particularly on that action sequence between roboBats and some gangster who can turn himself into a granite-particled, dust-sucking monster thing.

I don't have any definitive thoughts for Snyder's arc post-Convergence and Wayne's death so far. I love Jim Gordon to pieces but it also feels like I'm getting to know him again and for that alone I will keep reading this title. To be honest, I'm losing a bit of steam for DC stories in general, even Batman. But that's just crazy talk…or, post-fever talk. I just got back from a three-day crippling illness which was why I got delayed writing reviews. I have Detective Comics and Gleason's Robin titles to review next.


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