Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist/inks: Riley Rossmo
Additional Inks: Brian Level
Colors: Ivan Plascencia & Jordan Boyd
Letters: Steve Wands
Cover: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and Fco Plasecncia
Release Date: 11th May, 2016
Batman is smiling.
That’s what struck me straight away. It’s a bold statement, a risk, and it’s right there on the cover. Not Bruce Wayne, you understand. Batman.
To pick up the writing on final issue of DC’s iconic title, when Scott Snyder had done so much to redefine Gotham and its most famous son, is a heavy burden. Tynion’s experience however, on Eternal, Talon, and Red Hood & The Outlaws, stands him in good stead. This is an issue about history, not just of the character, but of the comic and beyond.
So, it goes back to the beginning. It’s interesting that this comes against the backdrop of ‘Gotham’ and ‘BvS’, a world where the origin story has entered the popular consciousness entirely and attempts to revisit it can feel staid and tired. And it’s from Alfred and Dr Leslie Tompkin’ perspective, helping the young boy deal with tragedy, interspersed with a tale from Batman’s present – any continuity’s present, as it has a timeless feel to it.
There are definite nods to the mighty Animated Batman here; Rossmo’s framing and light(n)ing homages Bruce Timm as Snyder’s does Miller. But it’s done with a deft touch, and crafts it into something distinctive; I’m certainly keen to see more of Rossmo’s take on the Bat after this. The narrative is a clever tale of a techno-villain – Batman always flounders somewhat in tales of metahumans I feel, and the tail end of Snyder’s run was evidence of that – that, simply put, feels right. Dynamic action, great dialogue, and a strong pay-off.
This is a strangely comforting story. It’s a fitting coda to the New 52, not just for Batman but as a whole, and a worthy addition to the canon. It’s affectionate without being fawning. Tynion understands Batman, but equally understands that Bruce is more than just a mask for the Bat.
There’s pressure in writing the Bat, and I was more than a little wary. As a lifelong reader, a kid who grew up through old Neal Adams and Tim Burton, through BTAS and Knightfall, this whole issue just left me smiling.
And, by the end, you’ll know why Batman’s smiling too.
The Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
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