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Is It Good? Batman (2011-) #19 Review

In a crisis, might DC Comics flip the “killswitch” on its New 52 reboot and negate all that has come in the last year? It’s a question I keep asking myself, largely because aside from the occasional well written story or clever reinvented character, I can’t help but wish things were back to the status quo.

Writer Scott Snyder has completed two major story arcs and seems to be starting anew with Batman #19. Love or hate the Court of Owls or Death of a Family storylines, you’d have to admit what comes next is tantalizing enough to check out. It hasn’t been perfect, but by golly here’s hoping the answer is yes when we ask ourselves, is it good?

Batman (2011-) #19 (DC Comics)

This issue is a bit of fresh air when it comes to Scott Snyder-written Batman comics. That’s because we not only get to see Batman fight a random villain for a couple pages, but also because it gets down to the mano-a-mano type battles we’ve come to love. This issue is largely like a Batman: The Animated Series issue, with multiple balls floating in the air, clever incorporation of Bruce Wayne and a fun adventure to follow. Due to the long arcs that have come before it it’s nice to see a simpler story unfold.

Can someone explain to me the panel on the right? Random shape going on there.

Folks who see this cover are going to cry foul after they read the issue. It’s a bit of a cheat, considering the New 52 keeps slinging new angles on characters these days, so you might expect the actual Bruce Wayne to be the one holding the gun. Spoiler Alert it’s actually Clayface. Anyone who grew up with the Animated Series will tell you this is good news for the comic. A beloved character from our childhood is back and he’s getting a slightly scientific twist.

Interesting flower concept to this villain but I don’t get the costume.

He talks like Hulk Hogan!

It seems Snyder hasn’t abandoned the Gotham Initiative which was introduced nearly a year ago. This story follows Bruce as he tracks down why an architect of the initiative killed himself. Snyder plays with time as well, opening the book now with most of the remaining pages focused on six days into the past. They say flashbacks are a way for a writer to cheat, but it’s clear the following issues will only be strengthened by this time displacement.

Love, love, love, this shot. Check out the city breaking through the clouds!

Artist Greg Capullo continues to impress with this book. The man knows composition so flipping well he should be getting a writing credit. Plus he even gives us an awesome nod to The Dark Knight Returns!

Dark Knight Returns, New 52 style.

The DC Comics $3.99 price model continues to offer up a backup story, this time with artist Alex Maleev and James Tynion IV at the helm. It’s nice to see a different type of Batman story here, especially since DC has focused mostly on the Robin soap opera in the last year or so. This backup introduces a supernatural force and a Superman/Batman team up. As we all know, Superman’s weakness is magic, so it’ll be cool to see Batman taking the lead in this story as it unfolds.

That can’t be good.

There are two striking things that stand out in this story. The first is Maleev’s incredibly dark and beautiful art. It lends itself to the supernatural subject matter, but it also brings us back to the dirty and evil streets of Gotham. The second is how manipulative and untrusting Batman is of Superman. He’s so grumpy in tone and nature it’s hard to believe it’s the same Batman who was shedding a tear for Damian not 15 pages earlier.

Epic art.


  • Solid art continues to shine
  • Good intro to two new stories
  • Imbalance between the tone of Batman in the backup and main feature

You really can’t go wrong purchasing this issue. The backup is just as strong as the main feature, and while the tone of Batman in both is strikingly different you could probably chalk that up to Bats not trusting Superman. Clayface is introduced with some added value and the story isn’t as straight-laced as previous issues, with multiple balls floating in the air.

Is It Good?

Yes. Enjoyable on multiple levels with a new mystery afoot!


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