Filed under: Features | Tags: Batman, Batman Incorporated, GrantMorrison, ScottSnyder
Greetings Bat-Fans! Join me in another edition of my column that stalks the streets of Gotham looking for crime and punching it in the face. I’ll warn you though, you’ll need to put your big boy pants on – it’s not a nicey nice spoiler free zone in here, I’ll be cracking these books in two to reveal all of their gooey centres…
Right now, there’s one name that follows Batman’s and it ain’t Robin – instead it’s Scott Snyder. His book remains firmly at the centre of Gotham with it’s ongoing Court of Owls tale – but it’s so big that it couldn’t be contained to just one title. This month saw the Night of the Owls crossover, touching many of the bat-books and further, as the Talons invade Gotham city and reclaim it for the Owls. It was nicely done with the creators instead of the sales team clearly taking charge – this wasn’t a “COLLECT ALL 100 TIE-IN ISSUES!” kind of a crossover, this was more like an unexpected break in the scheduling. You didn’t need to read all of the books to figure out what was going on, you didn’t even have to read them in a specific order – heck, if you weren’t reading the main Batman title (shame on you!) then this little one-shot story wouldn’t confuse you either. Listening to Snyder talk at this year’s Kapow! it was clear that he wanted to make sure that his creations (the Talons) weren’t misused, and instead wanted the other creators to do what he’s done so well during his time in Batman’s city – show some of Gotham’s history that we haven’t seen before. This was evident in a lot of the impacted issues, my favourite coming from Gail Simone’s haunting WWII tale featuring Chinese paper balloon bombs.
We’re getting ever closer to the end of the Snyder’s arc and having seen Bruce Wayne tossed out a tower, gone mental in an underground maze and fight a horde of Talons off with his Mega-Ultra-Metal Batsuit, it’s anyone’s guess what’s coming next. What we can look forward to is answers – Snyder himself has mentioned on several occasions via Twitter that we’ll get the reveal of who is behind those scary looking Owl masks and controlling the whole thing by the end of the story. Although I’m not making any guesses right now, I’d put money on the recent back story involving Alfred’s dad having some significant part to play on the main story – just look at his previous back up stories in Detective Comics and American Vampire, and you’ll see why.
Not content with having only one Batman book out this month, Snyder’s name was also attached to last week’s Batman Annual #1. My experience with Annuals in the past have always been an excuse to stick a few one shot stories into a longer comic and charge more for it – luckily though we got nothing of the sort from this. Here was a chance for Snyder to tell another Batman story, without worrying about create another epic, which worked particularly well and also cleverly ties in with his Court of Owls story too. Featuring Mr. Freeze, the tale was more dark and disturbing than I expected it would be – normally Freeze is one of the one-dimension characters that works better in the cartoon series than in the comics. It’s likely that Arnold Schwarzenegger has twisted my own (and probably most other’s) view of the character, so it’s impressive that his story and reboot within the New52 universe really gives the character some depth along with enough crazy to justify his imprisonment behind the walls of Arkham Asylum.
It’s a good time to be a Bat-fan, not only with each of the weekly comics that are released, but we’re also being treated to some original Graphic Novels too. I’ve yet to get hold of a copy of last week’s Death by Design book and also await the release of Batman Earth 1 later this month – no doubt I’ll have something to say about both here on the site soon. I’ll see you back here, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.
Craig – @hastiecraig
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