Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Snyder, Capullo, Miki & Plascencia
"Batman" gets a big face lift in this issue that kicks off the new direction for the character. This review will contain spoilers as to the identity of the person in the suit. Overall, the book's strength is the artwork as Capullo brings excitement as well as drama to the comic book. The book's construction is well paced as the book goes back and forth between the current threat and the origins of getting the person in the suit. The downside of this book, and it makes the book fairly average, is the argument made to convince the individual to get into the suit. It just feels half developed and drags the issue down. Normally Snyder takes the reader through the details point by point and this doesn't occur here unfortunately. This is a very average comic book.
The book opens with plenty of action. It appears the Batman in a suit is battling some kind of robot or energy-field monster. There's nothing special about this character or fight. However, the sequence is a great way to get to know the character in the suit and what the suit can do. We learn quickly that the man in the suit is Jim Gordon and the book quickly switches over to the background.
Gordon, when asked to be the man in the suit, is understandably hesitant. However, the argument to convince him is short and is never fully explained. Essentially, one of the board members that guide the suit's development, simply tells Gordon that he knows the city well and should be Batman. There is zero exploration about how good of a detective he is or how he knows the villains, their connections and the underworld. Nothing about his service history as a cop and a leader. The exchange brushes away the younger recruits as being too fresh, but ignores every other cop in between. No other detectives, beat cops or veterans get considered? This weak exchange continues with Bullock on the roof, during a smoke break, later in the comic.
Gordon, convinced he's getting in the suit, then begins to explain to Harvey Bullock why he'll be in the suit. The argument used by Gordon is so unconvincing that it takes a recruit walking onto the roof, in a Batman costume, to facetime with his 11-month kid, to convince Harvey that Gordon is right person for the job. The cliché about the young dad with everything to lose is a nice touch, but the recruit is already a cop. The danger still exists because he'll be in the line of fire just like everyone else on the job. This idea that a veteran like Bullock has a soft spot for a young cop doesn't make sense because the unit is made stronger by its parts, not by keeping selected cops "safe" because they have young kids. It still ignores that there are other cops that are younger, faster and stronger than Gordon that could use the push (aka a promotion) to get into the Bat-suit. This is a weak sequence as it cheapens and dismisses the entire Gotham police force.
The book's highlight is the artwork. Whether you like the suit's look or not, the book looks fantastic. The drama that Capullo captures among the characters is equally as detailed as the small looks of humor that Gordon and Bullock share during their conversation. The fight sequence is also very exciting, even if it has that Transformers-like feel to it. Overall, the artwork is not to be missed.
Batman is still a man in suit, but now a man in a suit inside a huge robot. This comic book explores the origins of finding the right man for that role. While the argument for picking the man is extremely weak, the book looks great and the idea has potential. Hopefully Snyder will explore the reasons behind getting this individual in the suit, instead of it seeming like someone said, "hey, let's do a story where character XYZ is Batman" but never really thinking through why that character would do it and under what circumstances would that be the right fit. This is an average comic book as things start out for the new direction for Batman.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles