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(DC – writer: Scott Snyder; art: Greg Capullo)
I like to see Batman beat up bad guys. I also like to see him solve crimes using his detective skills. Batman #1 does both of these. The story does feels a bit recycled, but it has a certain spark that makes it feel lighthearted while still fulfilling the “Dark Knight” aspect of Batman’s persona.
Much like any other Scott Snyder-penned story, this issue opens with an anecdote. This seems to be Snyder’s way of leading the reader into his tale. It’s not a bad trick, nor is it one that gets old. I quite enjoy it, actually. And it speaks to what Snyder is able to do with Batman. Lately, most of the Bat books have concerned themselves with Batman rather than Dick or Bruce. This may not seem clear, but I’ll put it this way. Scott Snyder spends half this issue on Bruce Wayne as Bruce Wayne. We get to see just how charismatic Bruce is as a businessman and a visionary.
Capullo gets a chance to slightly reinvent villains like Mr. Freeze, Victor Zsasz, Clayface, Professor Pyg, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Two Face, Black Mask, The Riddler and Scarface; a few more are thrown in for good measure – the issue opens in Arkham Asylum – but I couldn’t place some of them. Capullo draws a fantastic Batman that is highly reminiscent of Frank Miller’s take on the character. He’s big, imposing and intimidating beyond belief.
The heart of the issue lies in Bruce Wayne trying to fund a more hopeful Gotham City. In a word-heavy two pages that lack any tedium or dullness, Snyder outlines his take on Batman. He’s more optimistic than before. He thinks Gotham can be a place of inspiration.
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And this is also what seems to fuel his drive as Batman. It’s no longer a way to avenge his parents’ deaths, but a way to inspire the people of Gotham to greatness (much like Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman).
[pullquote]We get to see just how charismatic Bruce is as a businessman and a visionary.[/pullquote]
We’re also given the biggest mystery of the piece. Someone in Bruce’s inner circle may be a murderer. It’s a person you wouldn’t expect, and while I’d like to say the truth will prove otherwise, I think Snyder’s got something up his sleeve because for him, this introduction seems a bit pedestrian. I don’t mean that in the sense that the story is uninteresting. It is interesting. Very. What I mean is that it doesn’t have the originality of some of his other works. But this also makes the story unsettling. Is Snyder trying to lure readers in with a familiar story, only to have us upended when we find out the truth?
I enjoyed the issue. The dialogue is fun, and Snyder blends the right amount of drama and comedy into the story. His comedic timing is one of the most impressive things about his writing. It’s because of this, and more, that I have high hopes for the rest of the series. Batman #1 feels like the calm before the storm. When the truth is out – and we know it will happen – the ramifications will be momentous.