This comic has almost always been in the top 5 comics in terms of sales during the last few years, and I would say it has ranked the same in terms of quality as well. As a Batman fan, it’s been a terrific ride. There’s at least one more issue to go, and I’ll be both happy and sad to see it arrive. It’ll be the end of a fantastic era. As you can tell, I’ve already started grieving!
But until then, issue #50 has hit the stands!
Previously in BATMAN: Batman has returned to Gotham City! In this extra-sized conclusion to Snyder and Capullo’s epic story “Superheavy,” Bruce Wayne returns to the cape and cowl to battle Mr. Bloom alongside Jim Gordon for the fate of the city they both love.
THE RETURN OF BATMAN
The book’s creators have been exploring Bruce Wayne without the cape and cowl as well as someone else working on filling that role. It’s been a fascinating ride, with Bruce a happier guy and Jim Gordon regularly getting the tar beaten out of him, something Bruce as Batman would understand.
In this issue, Bruce returns as Batman, and I cheered every time he did any Batman-esque things. In a new suit of armor, he punches Bloom, who has been quite the chatter box, and I loved it when he gave him his just desserts.
Snyder’s script is, as always, tight and fast-paced. Batman is facing bad guys who are huge in comparison, and he’s typically undaunted by the challenge. That’s what makes Batman so admirable, his courage in the face of apparently insurmountable danger.
Snyder and Capullo have also created a new villain in Mr. Bloom, one who is both formidable and yet understandable. His origin story is told, and it’s compelling. He believes Batman should be his ally since he feels they have the same goals, but Batman quickly shows him otherwise.
Jim Gordon’s time as the new Batman comes to a satisfying conclusion as well, and we come away with a deeper understanding of his character. There’s a great segment in which people notice that his moustache grows back faster than the rest of his facial hair, a clear indication that his best and truest role is as Commissioner Gordon.
There’s a great conversation between Batman and Gordon in the final pages of the issue as they discuss the size of Gotham and how it challenges people who come there. Then Batman swings off into the night, comfortably returned to his role as the Dark Knight. Maybe it’s just me, but Bruce will always be Batman no matter who wears the mask. That’s what makes Damien so unusual – I actually LIKE and accept him as Robin. Good thing he wasn’t in this story, though.
This has been one of the great things about Snyder’s writing on Batman. He knows how to handle both the action and the character moments to perfection, and he makes us cheer for Batman as the Dark Knight overcomes amazing foes as well as feel for how much of a personal toll being Batman takes. Just terrific!
CAPULLO’S ART SPARKLES
During this issue, Capullo’s designs really shine, including the suits of armor and Batman’s new costume, something of a blend of recent uniforms. The bat symbol on his chest has a yellow outline, something that resembles the outfit Gordon’s been wearing. It’s something of a recognition of the time the Commissioner wore the cape and cowl.
As always, the use of panels and Batman busting through them adds to the excitement of the battles. On some levels, I felt it when Batman punched Bloom, it was so strong. And Bloom’s final fate literally jumps off the page! Cool cover by Capullo as well, by the way!
It’s somehow appropriate that this issue’s epilogue isn’t drawn by Capullo. The art’s great, so don’t get me wrong. But to me it indicated a change in the status quo, something we can expect to happen in the coming months.
BOTTOM LINE: Great Conclusion to a ‘Superheavy’ Story
As a lifelong Batman fan, it’s been so great to see him flying so high under the creative talents of Mr. Snyder and Mr. Capullo. This issue was chock full of surprises, powerful action and character moments that we’ve come to expect from this team.
Issue #50 delivers a high-octane end to a multi-part storyline that examined both Bruce and Jim, and I enjoyed going there. It’s good timing that this issue hit the stands just before the Batman V. Superman film arrive in theaters, so Bruce is again the Dark Knight for anyone who hasn’t been buying the comic recently. I encourage any of those folks to pick up the trades of Batman. I think you’ll enjoy the amazing Joker, Court of Owls and revised origin stories we’ve explored the last several years.
Next issue, Batman has to deal with something he’s really not used to – a quiet night in Gotham! I’m going to be fascinated to read that book, so I highly recommend this title. Now that we know who’ll be telling Batman stories when the Rebirth event hits and that Scott will be debuting a new Bat-book, I’m still happy to enjoy the ride with Snyder and Capullo as long as possible!