There’s a new Batman in town, but will he fulfill his duties to uphold the law, or will he just beat the crap out of bad guys?
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Danny Miki
Colorist: Francisco Perez
Editor: Mark Doyle
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Batman: The universe blinked for two months while Convergence took place. Let’s leave it there and see what happens next.
What happens when you take Batman and you mix him with the craziness that is Patlabor? You get the all-new all-different Batman! A Batman for a new age, new readers, new fans, and most importantly a Batman to protect Gotham!
It sounds like a lot of hype, and most certainly there has been a lot of hype surrounding Robobat-bunny since it first found its way on the Internet, but as Julia Perry says in this issue, “It grows on you.” There really shouldn’t be a lot of brouhaha surrounding the appearance of Mech-Bat, as we’ve seen robo-Batman before. The Brave and The Bold animated series acclimated us to the idea that Batman can work while wearing a giant transforming Batmobile as a suit. Even before that, Mark Waid and Alex Ross showed us a world where crime was fought with Batman Sentinels. For me, and hopefully for readers, the new Robobat-bunny is a device to tell a story about the new Batman, and perhaps, how the old Batman will return.
There are two really great moments in this issue from the story telling perspective. The first is seeing the transformation of Jim Gordon as he goes from skeptic, to acceptance, to kick-ass hero as he weighs the pros and cons of being the first of the new Batmen instead of allowing the rookies, who have a lot to lose, step into the limelight. There are moments where the character moments feel very natural, but I can’t help but wonder/speculate that there is some string pulling behind the scenes by many of the characters trying to talk Jim Gordon into donning the suit.
The other is watching as Jim goes to work for the first time. Remember kids, always be yourself, but when you can be Batman, be Batman. There is a bit of humor scattered through the big battle this issue as Gordon attempts to pull a “Batman does not eat nachos!” tone, while trying to figure out what it means to “be Batman”. In the end, and why this issue works so well, is that Gordon realizes he isn’t the old Batman we know and love, but he is a Batman who works within the law and uses his own knowledge and skill to save the day and defeat the monster of the week.
While the whodunit part of the issue isn’t that important, it does serve as the vehicle for Jim Gordon to emerge as the new Batman. It also give a little backstory to the city of Gotham, and some of the characters and communities in it.
Even though we’ve only seen the Robobat-bunny suit from a few angles before this issue dropped in our laps, Greg Capullo’s giant dynamic creation works really well. For years I’ve been amazed at how Mr. Capullo is able to render mechanical things like cars, buildings, and now bat-mechs, as his level of detail fills the panel and makes it feel real instead of a simple backdrop for characters to stand in front of. While many people are going to focus on Robobat-bunny as the big to-do, the real surprise in the issue is seeing Jim Gordon in the real, new batsuit. It is sleek, it is form fitting, and it is very simple in its design, and one can easily see how the evolution to the Batman Beyond style of the future might come about.
The other big surprise is seeing the transformation Gordon goes through in character design. We know Gordon as a chain smoking, mustache sporting, detective, but we also learn he is a former marine. The final page featuring Gordon outside of the suit is a huge “whoa” moment, as this is a Gordon we have never seen before. Gone are the glasses, the mustache and smokes, now replaced by a muscle bound, mohawk sporting, soldier. This is the biggest adjustment that I will have to get behind, but after reading Batman #41 more than a few times since its release, it’s a character change that I’m ready to see more of.
BOTTOM LINE BATMAN #41: BUY IT!
Overall, Batman #41 is well written, features fantastic art, and gives new readers a great jumping on point. There are more than a few questions that will need to be answered at some point, but for those looking for something radically different than the last two months of Convergence, this book has me fully jumping on the DC Wagon again. If for nothing else, pick up this issue for the color changing batsuit moment, but stick around for great first chapter in the long journey for Jim Gordon.
For those wondering about the Twix ads and how it screws with the flow of the story, it really didn’t for me. I purchased the issue in digital form, which strips the ads out, and takes two half-pages and reconnects them as a single page. There is a bit of a restructuring of the six panels, but if you didn’t know there was supposed to be an ad in the issue, you would never be able to tell in the digital issue.
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