Thursday, March 1, 2012

Batman - First Arc Review / Discussion

Batman has the story skeleton of a typical tale but Scott Snyder is showing real balls in how he tells it. Both he and (artist) Greg Capullo have been fearless in roughing up Batman. Seems every issue Batman gets a sword or likewise instrument shoved clean through his abdomen. The fights have been legit. Batman has damn near died in every single one, leaving his body covered in scars. Then the scenes of Batman losing his mind in the labyrinth! I was honestly concerned if he’d come out still a functioning person. A wild eyed, unshaven Batman with no control over his mutterings and no plan of escape (after days!) so breaks the current control-freak persona that it was scary to see. His parting bluff / tirade before dragging then throwing his nearly broken body down a crude hole revealed a new Batman and a villain actually worth his time.

I wasn’t thrilled with the art as I went into the series but it has grown on me quite a lot. Out of costume, Bruce has this cartoonish square jaw and looks like a linebacker. The mayor has a similar physique, so much so that I couldn’t tell them apart for a few pages. Suited up Batman at least looks more reasonable proportioned. His suit is gray and compact. Coupled with the lack of serious gadgets, it feels like a naked Batman. Which is not to say bad, at all, just the opposite of the embellished, flowing shadow he’s been for a number of years now. Given his handling thus far, incredibly appropriate. Refreshing even. Gotham is a mean, jagged city with clashes of new and gothic everywhere. But it puts on this face (through color mostly) of a nice, decent city that the eye can see right through in an instant. Only with effort is the masked found again. It’s how I imagine a real Gotham would look. Nobody would live in a full on gothic horror pit if there wasn’t at least some pretense of it being livable.

The first arc “wrapped up” but I can’t wait for the sequel. It’s got all the makings and a “feel” of real Batman story. Not filler staring a costumed detective. I hope Snyder and Capullo keep pushing the story. Everyone is going to like what they find.

Image Copywrite DC Comics

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