Ricky Church reviews Batman #42…
More surprises around every corner as the all-new Batman hits the streets of Gotham City!
Jim Gordon’s transformation as Gotham City’s new Batman continues in Batman #42 as he faces down his second superpowered villain. Much like the issue before it, Batman #42 is mostly a quiet affair with a memorable action scene as Gordon gets use to the tech suit and discovers how far things are set against him.
Scott Snyder has had a good handle on Gordon’s character since the very beginning of his run on one of DC’s flagship titles, but the real draw here is seeing how Snyder develops Gordon in this new setting. Gordon has proven himself to be a very capable cop and detective, but being a superhero is something else entirely, clearly evident by his constant self-doubt. It’s a stark contrast compared to Batman’s depiction in Zero Year; he overflowed with confidence, even bordering on arrogance, and never doubted his abilities or what he could mean to the city. Gordon does both here, worrying he’ll never live up to the original Batman’s reputation.
Gordon’s personal crisis led to two really great scenes in the story. The first was with newly appointed Commissioner Maggie Sawyer as they discussed the pros and cons to a fully deputized Batman, one that would be held accountable by state laws and regulations should anything ever go wrong. It’s a very interesting new take on the age-old question of whether or not Batman would be more effective as an actual law enforcement member.
The second scene was between Gordon and Julia Pennyworth as they discussed what the idea of Batman meant to the original. Once again, Snyder takes a familiar idea of what Batman means to others and turns it on its head, offering a fresh take on Bruce’s own motivations for becoming Batman. This discussion on what Batman means to people, especially for those who wear the cowl, was a standout and possibly gave Gordon some renewed confidence.
It goes without saying Greg Capullo continues to rock the art department. His depiction of the action scene is very dynamic and engaging, offering small details to the Narrows neighbourhood as a true slum. Capullo does an excellent job in the quieter scenes as well with his expressive facial work. One particular scene that stood out was Gordon’s examination of multiple corpses at the morgue. Even without proving close-ups of the bodies, each one’s features and tattoos were quite detailed.
The Batman team continues their stellar run on the title as they explore this new atmosphere in Gotham City, providing some great character moments for Jim Gordon and discussions on what Batman means for individuals and the city as a whole. While the story is still setting in place this new status quo, its one that, at this point in time, will be well worth the eventual pay off.