Martin Deer reviews the latest issue of Batman…
“Bruce Wayne robs a Gotham bank, but not everything is as it seems.“
The next big storyline in Batman commences in issue #21 in June, and will re-tell Bruce Wayne’s origins as The Batman for the New 52. Until then however we have a two-part story, of which I really enjoyed part one here in issue #19.
The front cover is striking, with Bruce pointing a gun at an unseen target. Unfold that cover and it is revealed to be Jim Gordon. As the story starts Bruce is robbing one of Gothams’s banks and has a hostage in tow. In his getaway he shoots Jim Gordon and uses his motorcycle to run him over.
The story then jumps back six days, to when Damian Wayne is still alive and we see a brief moment of Bruce and Damian’s last time together. The death of his son weighs heavily on Bruce, but given that it did not occur in the main Batman title, nor has it actually been explained in the book what happened, it feels completely out of place. Alfred is keenly aware of how it is affecting Bruce, and notes that it is worse than when Jason Todd died at the hands of The Joker – before he was brought back of course. When Alfred questions Bruce about not attending a friend’s funeral, some further details emerge that lead Bruce to do some detective work. The book is a fun issue that has a thriller element, and it’s great to see Batman out in the field investigating.
As you may have realised, the villain for this two part issue is Clayface, and Snyder re-tells his origin for us via Batman’s internal monologue. It’s a slight update for the New 52, and Snyder links Clayface to mythological stories of shapeshifters.
Greg Capullo is back on pencils and whilst I noted in my review of issue #18 that I preferred the way Batman was drawn by Andy Kubert, Capullo really does draw a hell of a Batman, and his art on a whole is pretty wonderful. There is a new ink team for the title now, with Danny Miki on colouring and the issue feels a lot lighter and brighter as a result.
The backup story was also a fun read, as Superman joins Batman on an investigation that leads them in to the supernatural, which is not so great for Big Blue.
All in all, Batman #19 is a really enjoyable issue and I must say it is nice to have just a fun and engaging issue to read that doesn’t have so much weight to it or is being billed as the next big thing. I really enjoyed this issue, and I highly recommend it.