A new Bat blos­soms

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS - Re­view by MICHAEL CHEANG star2@ thes­tar. com. my

THIS was meant to be a dif­fer­ent re­view al­to­gether. But af­ter watch­ing Zack Sny­der’s dark, steely and ter­ri­bly dull Bat­man V Su­per­man: Dawn Of Jus­tice last week, I de­cided that more at­ten­tion should be given to an­other Sny­der in­stead – Scott Sny­der, to be ex­act.

While one Sny­der has been try­ing to launch a brand new ex­panded DC cin­e­matic uni­verse in pos­si­bly the most con­vo­luted way ever, the other Sny­der has been busy adding some ex­cit­ing fin­ish­ing touches to his and artist Greg Ca­pullo’s bril­liant and of­ten epic four- and- a- half- year run on DC’s flag­ship Bat­man ti­tle.

Af­ter al­most a year with Jim Gor­don as Bat­man ( or rather, RoboBat­cop), with Bat­man # 50, Sny­der and Ca­pullo not only bring Bruce Wayne back to the cowl, but give him a new suit to go with it as well. Ca­pullo nails the new look with a sleek- look­ing de­sign, mostly black and grey, of course, but with yel­low trim­mings around a brand new Bat- logo and util­ity belt that gives the whole cos­tume a sporty but classy look.

This be­ing Sny­der and Ca­pulo’s penul­ti­mate is­sue, it nat­u­rally wraps up the 10- is­sue Su­per­heavy story arc, giv­ing them one last is­sue to say good­bye to the ti­tle prop­erly.

And what a fi­nale this is for the story that in­tro­duced Jim Gor­don as the new Bat­man, in place of an am­ne­siac Bruce Wayne who, af­ter his dev­as­tat­ing bat­tle with Joker in Endgame, could not re­mem­ber that he’s Bat­man.

With a giant- sized Mis­ter Bloom ( ar­guably one of the most vis­ually strik­ing ad­di­tions to Bat­man’s rogues gallery in re­cent times) ram­pag­ing through Gotham, it’s up to Jim Gor­don to stop him. Un­for­tu­nately, the for­mer police com­mis­sioner’s out of com­mis­sion, hav­ing been given a beat­ing by Mis­ter Bloom ear­lier. So it’s up to the orig­i­nal Bat­man to save the day and in­spire Gotham to fight back against Mis­ter Bloom’s con­trol.

This may seem like it’s an­other “Bat­man re­turns to save the day” sort of is­sue, but it isn’t. Yes, Bruce is back un­der the cowl ( he even cracks one hell of a joke upon his ar­rival!), and yes, he does get into a giant ( in all senses of the word) smack­down with Mr Bloom, but this is­sue is not just about how the Dark Knight re­turns, but also about giv- ing RoboBat­Cop a good send­off.

Jim has been a will­ing and able re­place­ment in Bruce’s ab­sence, but there was al­ways a sense that the real Bat­man would re­turn. This is­sue, how­ever, not only gives Jim a chance to let his ver­sion of Bat­man shine, it also, rather poignantly, gives him one fi­nal mis­sion in that Robobunny suit that has been his “rookie part­ner” for the past year.

The ex­cite­ment doesn’t let up through­out this dou­ble- sized is­sue ( it’s a # 50 af­ter all), with the ac­tion al­most un­re­lent­ing, and al­most ev­ery sin­gle ma­jor char­ac­ter hav­ing a say in the pro­ceed­ings. Ca­pullo’s art through­out the run has been ex­cel­lent, and in this land­mark is­sue, he keeps up the great work with some stun­ningly scary pan­els of Mis­ter Bloom’s ram­page, as well as some great splash pages and pan­els of the new/ old Bat­man in ac­tion.

And when the dust fi­nally set­tles, and Sny­der fi­nally al­lows us to breathe, there is a poignant epi­logue where Jim and Bat­man chat about what comes next. It’s a mo­ment that al­lows us to con­tem­plate the new/ old sta­tus quo, and pon­der what will hap­pen af­ter Sny­der and Ca­pullo leave the ti­tle. One thing is for sure – who­ever takes over from the Dy­namic Cre­ative Duo has big shoes to fill.

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