Judging from the cover and some of the latest events in Batman, it looks like we are about to meet a brand new villain in this comic. Let’s see what this new guy has to offer for our new Batman. Is it good?
Batman #43 (DC Comics)
The latest issue of Batman is an important one. It answers the question about what Bruce Wayne has been up to after seeing him in the past two issues. Why is he not in the fight anymore and off doing his own thing? We learn the truth here… by Scott Snyder proceeding to dump a truckload of exposition onto the audience.
This issue can be divided into two halves with two radically different approaches to the story. The first half is dedicated to what’s up with Bruce, while the other half is all about Jim Gordon investigating Mr. Bloom and more of his customers. The first half is VERY slow going, as Snyder lays it on thick about Bruce and all the explanation surrounding his character. While it is interesting learning all of this information, it gets very tiring quickly as the dialogue and exposition come across as very overwhelming and heavy on the dramatics. A lot of things happen, but you have to read a bunch of essays in order to get through it. It really brings down the pace of the book and grinds everything to a halt.
The second half of the book, however, is almost the opposite. While there is exposition, it’s not as overdone. There’s a bit of exposition, but it’s also overlaid with some tension and action to keep things exciting and fast. There’s some drama, but it’s balanced out by some humor and even frights. It’s better paced, too—the story moves a lot faster, but also knows when to slow down to let moments happen. It feels as eventful as the first half, but doesn’t take as long to get through. I would have preferred the book to have this pacing and storytelling from beginning to end. It would have made the comic more enjoyable to read and we wouldn’t end up with this trouble.
Will there be a test on this?
With all of that being said, I found the story to be enjoyable and interesting to read. The characterization is fairly strong and feels on point for everyone. There can be complaints with Alfred’s behavior in this issue with not trying to help return Bruce back to his original state and preferring to keep him this way, but you can really see his point of view and why he made that choice. The dialogue is VERY heavy in the first half as stated, but it is much better in the second. The exchanges and conversations feel more “normal” and have a wider range of emotion in them, other than just sadness and depression. The ending is good and rather creepy as well, adding in a new layer to this Mr. Bloom mystery. It’s a good issue, but it could have been so much better if the writing was just a tad stronger.
Greg Capullo’s artwork at least remains consistently good. He still draws the characters well, the designs for the new characters are interesting and memorable, the layouts flow well and are easy to read, and he draws action incredibly well. The only weakness he has here are some of the backgrounds in the first half the comic. There are quite a few white, featureless voids that look rather bad in comparison to the other panels that have backgrounds with detail in them or at least color. They stick out like a sore thumb against all the vibrant and eye catching visuals this issue had.
Is It Good?
Batman #43 is an important issue, answering old questions and creating new ones in their place. What hurts it though is the uneven storytelling and tons of exposition that really hit the brakes on this whole story early on in order to explain everything revolving around Bruce. It does recover a bit in the second half when the pacing and writing improves, though. Either way, despite its problems, it is not an issue to miss.