Review: Batman #2

The long, detailed path Scott Snyder has taken to build up the history of Gotham City is coming to a head.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Batman #2

I’ll skip my usual intro of how gifted a writer Scott Snyder is, I feel the comic book reading public is now up to speed with his abilities. What I can focus on is Batman #2, which boasts easily the most interesting story arc of the entire new 52. This is the story Snyder has been driving towards since his start in Detective Comics. All the prep work concerning the history of Gotham City, all the small plot points that helped develop Gotham as an actual character, it’s all starting to come together with this arc.

For all of Batman’s life one of the few constants he’s had is Gotham City. It’s more than the town he swore to protect; it’s an old friend, a darkness that makes sense to him. What would be the effect on the Dark Knight if that were taken away from him, if the city he was comfortable in suddenly became a stranger? I was really happy to see that Snyder was taking a realistic approach to this idea. Striking a supernatural blow at Batman would have been too easy to explain, something he could have shrugged off. Instead Snyder involves an old legend, one that Batman has heard of but doesn’t believe in, one that’s existence will twist everything our hero is sure of.

The issue opens with Bruce Wayne being thrown through a window and plummeting to his death. The rest of Batman #2 explains the events leading up to Bruce’s predicament starting with Batman chasing kidnappers and culminating with the introduction of a new villain who might be better, stronger and tougher than the Dark Knight. Between the gaps, Snyder introduces The Court Of Owls, an age-old Gotham myth that has risen again and targeted Bruce Wayne.  The genius with this is how Snyder allows Batman to be dismissive of the idea that the Court Of Owls exists. Gotham is his town and he knows everything about it, he also knows that The Court Of Owls is fantasy. Already, Snyder is setting up the Dark Knight for some long-term damage.

For those curious about Dick Grayson, fear not, there is an explanation given as to why Dick’s skin was underneath the fingernails of a murder victim. In fact, it’s a rather clever way for Snyder to introduce the idea that the Court Of Owls could be out for everybody involved in the Dark Knight’s circle. I love that a threat is growing in front of the world’s greatest detective, and he can’t see it. Once again, Snyder takes all the constants of the Batman Universe and turns them on their ear. It’s a testament to his storytelling ability that Snyder can have Batman act out of character but it never seems like a plot point just to move the story along. I will cry foul with one detail. The way Bruce saves himself from falling to his death is a little too deus ex machina for me.

Greg Capullo’s art is another highlight to the issue. I love how he splits his work between fluid action and almost portrait work. When the story calls for action, Capullo’s work jumps off the page, but in the quieter moments, when characters are talking or relating to each other, everything freezes. Capullo allows your focus to fall on everything within the panel and it helps create real atmosphere for Snyder’s story. Batman #2 is another top-notch entry from one of the only writer’s that keeps me constantly guessing and constantly excited to see what happens next.