Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Snyder, Paquette & Fairbairn
This review contains spoilers. The spoiler free review is that this issue of "Batman" is a good look at what makes Batman a character that isn't like any other. This examination is done through the eyes of Bruce Wayne that knows he is Batman but can't remember anything about the alternate identity. Alfred also plays a heavy role in this emotional issue. The comic is a good one because it hits this angle of Bruce Wayne's responsibility to the city that is seldom seen in comics. The comic drifts into a science fiction-like way out of the current situation but it doesn't come across as ridiculous. This is a good read and worth checking out. This ends the spoiler free review.
Bruce busts into Wayne Manor looking for Alfred's help. He knows he is Batman and is willing to get his brain back to being Batman any way he can. Alfred is very reluctant to help him.
The plot then moves to a brain machine that Batman had given up on. His intent was implant the Batman persona into clones to keep Batman going for generations but that didn't work. Apparently the test brains weren't able to handle the Batman download. Wayne is now willing to wipe out his own existence in order to become Batman again. This plot device isn't the best one and is further confused with some hand-waving of the explanations about how the device should work and how the device failed previously. Can they be ignored? Yes. I expect more from Snyder though.
Alfred explains that the device was never tested beyond death. That means they didn't kill the test subjects in the process. However, in order to get the machine to work, Bruce believes he needs to die, and his brain with it, so that he is a blank slate to receive the new imprint properly. So does that mean the test subjects weren't already blank slates? If not then where did they get their personalities from? If they weren't pushed to the point of death then what happened to them? Typically I feel Snyder goes way too deep in explanation dumps where it seems like characters couldn't possibly know the information they reveal. In this case he leaves too many blanks. The Batman download only worked when a subject was dead and had nothing left in their heads. Batman didn't previously test this on dead things? Does this make Batman a zombie now? Other oddities occur here, such as Bruce losing his beard but not his hair in the process. The dialogue around these scenes help to make the device and how it works secondary thankfully.
The comic excels as defining Batman. When Bruce tries to unwind what he believes Batman should be, based on information from others, it really takes this comic to a different level. This isn't something that we've seen before: Bruce Wayne defining what Batman is and what he means to the city. This is a very good comic book as a result.
The whole Bloom story takes a backseat in this issue and that helps this comic. The Bloom villain and generation of his plans were half-cooked to begin with and never warranted this level of a ten-part story arc where Bruce Wayne and the new Batman are both pushed to the brink. The climax of this story won't have the right punch as a result. I was glad to see Bloom absent in this book.
The artwork is good but doesn't present this chapter as an epic. This comic book, as opposed to the others in this arc, is probably the most worthy of an epic presentation. Capullo should have taken off a different issue because while this issue's art is beautiful it simply doesn't take the visuals to the highest level that the story seems to want to take this comic to. I'm pleased with the visuals but simply not overwhelmed.
"Batman" brings Bruce Wayne face to face with Alfred with the Batman identity hanging in the balance. Bruce wants Batman back at any cost while Alfred simply can't let the new Bruce Wayne go. It's a touching issue that reveals a lot about what the pair think of Batman and each other. The comic book has guest art that is gorgeous but doesn't provide the same epic feel that Capullo has the knack for doing. This is a very good comic book to pick up. Especially if you are interested in hearing how Bruce Wayne defines the meaning of Batman to the city of Gotham. I enjoyed the comic.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles
ComicList needs you... to review!
Greetings ComicList readers and fans! As you have previously read, after almost ten years, Brandon Borzelli is retiring Geek Goggle Reviews. Of course, this means that we will need a new reviewer! We ask anyone interested to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide sample reviews and a clear vision of the types and titles of comics you are interested in critiquing. You do NOT need to be a published author to be considered. Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you all!