Writer: Scott Snyder / Art: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki / DC Comics
You know, comic traditionalists like to whine a lot about how comics should stay the same forever and ever, but if we’re honest with ourselves, the only way we get some classics elements we love in comics is through change. I mean, Batman wasn’t always a gruff talking badass from the start. At one point, he was a nice guy. He was….well, Adam West. Just let that sink in before you rush to judgment about this fresh coat of paint Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are putting on the Dark Knight.
Batman #41 picks up some time after the original Bat’s presumed “death” (oh, please) when we’re told in different ways by different characters that it’s a new era in Gotham City. And so, to fill the void left by its greatest hero, city turns to someone else to be the kind of protector it needs/deserve. For those of you that don’t know (even though it was announced two months ago, I have been sent an editorial mandate about spoi. lers, so….), I won’t spoil the new Batman’s identity, but it’s definitely someone that Snyder has been re-establishing as part of Gotham’s foundation as much as (if not moreso than) Bruce Wayne himself.
It’s nice to see longstanding characters get unexpected upgrades that, in some ways, seem long overdue. If you go into this issue expecting an omega level threat that has Gotham on the brink of disaster like we’ve seen from Snyder in the past, you won’t find it here. However, that’s not really the point of issue #41. The objectives in this book are clearly to 1). lay out the new status quo and 2). introduce you to the mindset you can come to expect in coming issues. This isn’t a Batman that’s going through the motions, mimicking his predecessor or trying to convince the citizens that it’s not a different guy under the cowl. He’s doing things in a way that sends a very different message to the people about his relationship to the justice system. But even with all that, he’s still not personally sold on being the right man for the job and that always makes for a more flavorful character to read about.
And you can’t talk about all the things this book does right without mentioning the incomparable Greg Capullo. As per usual, Capullo is at the top of his game with not only with his design for the new Bat-mech, but for the actual field suit.
The concept, along with a certain name drop, makes me think DC is trying to make Batman Beyond actual canon again. And his new “jarhead” look for the man beneath the mask is a bit shocking but also very fitting, making for quite the upgrade for this fan favorite.
Bottom Line: A great way to establish the new way of things in Gotham as well as a new hero still working out the kinks with some fun, straightforward on the job training. 9 out of 10.