Written by SCOTT SNYDER / Art by GREG CAPULLO & JONATHAN GLAPION
Colors by FCO PLASCENSCIA / Letters by RICHARD STARKINGS & COMICRAFT – JIMMY BETANCOURT
Scott Snyder’s run on Batman is, without a doubt, one of the most anticipated comics to come out as part of the new 52. After making his mark with stellar work on Detective Comics and Dick Grayson under the cowl, Snyder now gets to play with the “real” Batman and really explore all of the dynamics of the universe all over again with Bruce.
Snyder gets us acquainted with the Bat world in much the same way that Grant Morrison introduces us to the world of Superman in Action Comics. Rather than a straight introduction story or one that jumps right into the action and leaves the reader to catch up, Snyder treads the line. The script characterizes Batman and Gotham through it’s villains, something that has no doubt been done before but never like this because he doesn’t lean on their distinct personalities too heavily. And in typical Snyder fashion, we get our first twist in the very first scene and one that will amuse comic veterans as well as new readers.
The reason that this books is heads and shoulders above the pack is that Snyder has a deep understanding of the world that Batman lives in. Batman is not just Arkham or the Joker or the Batcave or Gotham. He is a culmination of all of these things and the effects that they have on the people close to him. That being said, the twist at the end involving one of Bruce’s inner circle, is perfectly played. The scenario is one that is sure to test Bruce, provide excellent storytelling opportunities for all the members of the supporting cast and challenge whether his new outlook on handling Gotham and his own inner demons is for real.
If Scott Snyder is getting Batman into scoring position, then Greg Capullo is knocking it out of the park to drive him in. Capullo is known for his work on Haunt as well as being part of Todd McFarlane’s studio. The sketchiness of his linework brings Batman’s rogues galleries to life with a new edge. Snyder has always had the honor of work with artists who have a keen sense of tone and composition. Capullo is no different. In this issue, his layouts and panel breakdowns in Arkham practically jump off the page with sheer terror, differing heavily from the more standard layouts of the gala scenes or Batcave scenes. Capullo’s style almost reminds me of Humberto Ramos beause it can have the definitely cartoon-y aproach to expressions and certain shapes. But the big difference between them (and why Capullo is better suited for Batman) is that Ramos tends to throw all ideas of body proportions out the window while Capullo’s figures, though still expressive, remain firmly grounded in the possible. Plus, Capullo is the only one to draw a Gordon that actually looks younger as opposed to just an old Gordon with a dash of Just for Men.
This is an incredible debut issue and one that in some ways contrasts the usually much more slower-paced stories that we’ve seen from Snyder. Capullo absolutely delivers and I hope that he stays on track so that we don’t have to see any fill-ins like is becoming the norm on other new 52 titles. Other books in the Bat line have been criticized because it seems like Batman has stayed exactly the same in the new 52. That might be the case but I don’t think the reasoning is bad writing or storytelling. I think we’re supposed to see how much everything around them has changed.
WRITING: 5 / ART: 5 / OVERALL: 5