Batman continues to be AiPT!’s favorite series— it even took our top spot in the Power Rankings two months running—and the latest issue is most likely going to make it too. Or is it? The artistic team is changed and this is a post Zero-year story so things have been changed, but writer Scott Snyder is the holdover. Is it good?
Batman #44 (DC Comics)
This issue opens with a victim showing up in the Gotham marshes. It looks fishy to say the least, and Batman is there before the cops arrive inspecting the crime scene. We quickly see this is a story narrated by Batman himself—not yet removed from the cape and replaced by Gordon—as he tracks down the culprits of this murder. To say the tone is similar to The Black Mirror is an understatement and it’s not just because Jock is back on art. No, the narration by Batman is dark and reflective as he tries to understand why a teenager would ever end up dying so young. As the tale weaves in and out of culprits and Batman narrows down what happened you’ll be positively captivated and drawn ever deeper into Batman’s psyche.
Somebodies pissed off.
Snyder writes a fantastic issue here—the pace and mood are top notch every step of the way. There’s very little dialogue as we are stuck inside Batman’s head for the better part of the issue. Being inside his head is exciting as we unravel the mystery with him and it feels very personal. Batman is none too happy a teenager died in his city and what he discovers is haunting to say the least. This story ties very much into the gun violence we see in the news every day, particularly with police brutality. This element gives the story an importance as he’s got his finger on the pulse of America.
The mystery itself is incredible with a lot of false starts and multiple parties and elements involved. Like any good mystery there are culprits we assume to be guilty, but eventually we discover it’s a lot more complicated than that. There’s some talk in this issue about coils, and much like the coils in this issue the mystery weaves in and out and will pull you in too.
I’m not so sure DC calling this an origin story for Mr. Bloom is the most honest of statements. He most definitely makes an appearance, but unless I’m missing something I didn’t see much of an origin story. Anyone expecting a focus on Mr. Bloom might be a bit disappointed, but the story is so stellar I can’t see anyone feeling ripped off.
That is just great writing.
The art by Jock is without a doubt exceptional with some fantastic uses of newspaper cut outs. One double page spread in particular is gorgeous as the words pile up over Batman as he stands over his city. The tension and anger in Batman is very evident too, due to Jock’s exceptional body language and facial expressions of Batman. He’s especially ticked off in this issue and you can see it in how he draws Batman.
Coils all the way down!
Is It Good?
This is an exceptional story with its finger right on America’s pulse. The mystery weaves in and out delectably and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better single issue read in 2015.