Comics Anonymous

BATMAN #5 by Craig
January 22, 2012, 5:55 pm
Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: , , ,

Is it too early to predict the best comic of 2012? Only 22 days in and I certainly have a contender – Batman #5. I’ll probably go as far to say that this whole series by Scott Snyder and Gregg Capullo will be one of the best stories of 2012 too. Haven’t started the Batman comic of the DCNew52? Where have you been?!

DC didn’t really need a shake up for things to happen this way, really that’s all by the by. Finishing his run on Detective Comics, Scott Snyder would have come to the main Bat-title and made it feel like an issue #1 anyway. We’re now only five issues in, and already I’ve forgotten about the terrible clunky melodrama this book was churning out pre-New52. In five issues Snyder has not only shown us exactly what comic books are supposed to be, but proven that Batman books don’t have to rely on the usual back-catalogue of villains so commonly seen everywhere else.

So far I’ve been unimpressed with everything that’s come out of Detective Comics and The Dark Knight – they’re not trying hard enough and playing to exactly what you’d expect from a Batman comic. I’m sure these are pretty appealing to those who jumped on the bandwagon at the re-launch, but regular readers must be bored of this stuff by now? I certainly am! It must be hard for them though when Snyder and Capullo are doing the unbelievable over on their book – I suppose not all comics can be great ones, so we should be thankful at least that we have this one. It’ll certainly be joining a list of other all time great Batman stories, like Long Halloween, The Dark Knight Returns, Year One and Grant Morrison’s epic run (to name only one of his “arcs” wouldn’t be right – he’s done/doing an equally amazing job).

So we’ve reached issue #5 in the Court of Owls story – so far issues #1-4 have been building momentum towards what’s expected to be a Gotham wide story line, but for now is solely focussed on Bruce and his obsession over the existence of the Owls, leading to a total breakdown in issue #5. This book doesn’t just tell the story of Bruce’s madness, it includes you in it – turning your world, like Bruce’s, completely upside down – not just figuratively speaking either. Through its imaginative use of layout, both of the panels and the pages themselves, the book excellently portrays the isolated feeling of being trapped in an underground maze and going crazy.

The art on this run so far has been stellar – Capullo brings a really original style to the world of Batman. Like Snyder’s writing, it feels new and fresh, like nothing we’ve seen before – instantly I know which Batman I’m reading, in the same way that Frank Quitely brought his unique style to Grayson’s Batman. I’ve enjoyed how many of the issues so far appear to have their own colour theme, issue #2’s burnt orange sunrise being my favourite, and issue #5 continues this thread, nicely balancing the stark whites of the maze rooms against the dark of their corridors and Batman himself.

Usually this would sit at the bottom of my weekly reading pile, saving the best for last, but this week that rule was broken – and it was well worth it. Like I said at the start, this really is some of the best work you’ll find in the New52, and at a time where I’ve started to question some of the DC books I’ve been picking up, this one firmly stays at the top of my pull list each month.

Craig @hastiecraig

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