After complimenting Synder’s flashbacks and incorporating ‘Wayne and ‘Gotham history into the story with the last issue we get almost an entire issue dedicated to a flashback, this time to Bruce’s childhood, which in itself has always been partial to mystery.
I’ve grown apprehensive towards incorporating Bruce’s childhood into stories, mostly because the last couple of times it’s been done it’s almost always been so convenient to the plot that it makes the supposed moment in Bruce’s history seem unnatural; a new friend or dramatic event that were supposed to believe is only now coming full circle despite having never heard of it before. And to be fair, it’s not always not-worked (I enjoyed Hush) but my “not another Bruce childhood flashback” alarm went off in this issue, but was quickly quieted.
Although Synder is introducing to us a new event in Bruce’s life that is just now coming full circle I think it’s fair to remember were working within a slightly-retconed DC Universe where tweaking is going to happen and I think it’s fair to expect those tweaks within the first couple of issues. And Snyder is making it very clear [in a recent interview with CBR], Bruce’s origin is “sacred” and isn’t being tweaked at all, he’s simply telling us a story which has previously been untold. Which he’s true to; nothing about this flashback, with the exception of the Court of Owls (and even not really), isn’t something that was already there. Bruce’s paranoia, his obsession and sneaky detective work isn’t anything new to the character at all and certainly feels natural as something we could believe Bruce doing, even if were seeing it for the first time chronologically. And as we find out, Bruce finds nothing. Beyond his paranoid suspension there is nothing that leads us to believe the Court of Owls had anything to do with his parents death (however, we do know they are involved with the Wayne’s somehow; Alan Wayne screaming about the court, the Talon mentioning previous Wayne’s). But the flashback only reveals elements to Bruce’s character that were already familiar with.
And it made for some very cool reading.
I also noticed for the first time (and found interesting) how similar the Court of Owls feels to Grant Morrison’s Black Hand. Both have played roles into Bruce’s history, both have someone working on getting close to Bruce (Jezebel Jet for the Blank Hand, the Talon for the Court of Owls – I know that’s a stretch but both serve as a group with an individual spearheading the attack. Perhaps Simon Hurt is a better example), and we’ve already seen Synder incorporating elements of Morrison’s run. I think this is more of the fanboy in me and doubt any real connection, but it was an interesting element I put together. All by myself. Like a detective.
Did Dick Grayson get taller since issue #1? (Go look at his height in this issue)
This seemed like a much quieter issue from Greg Capullo on art; largely in part to the nature of a more dialogue-centric issue, his designs and details are still incredible. Most notable here (and having gone back realizing it in the previous issue as well) is the toll on Bruce physically. This story began with Bruce looking his best, even giving a speech at a formal dinner, now were seeing Bruce without having shaven in a couple of days, with tired eyes and a body wrapped in bandages. Standing next to a relatively fresh Dick Grayson Bruce looks like he’s been through hell, which further supports Dick’s concern for his well being. But the quieter issue allowed for inker Jonathan Glapion and colorist Fco Plascencia’s work to stand out. Bruce’s flashback sequence is slightly muted and toned differently with more shadows than details, all the while the art is still gripping. Your attention is never diverted. From the layouts to the backgrounds a scene that could easily have been visually boring is instead a refreshing switch in styles, keeping me just as engaged.
For all the reasons I’ve been enjoying Synder’s Batman the biggest might be that this is a Batman AND Bruce Wayne story, my favorite kind. The unmasked Bruce has been in the story just as much as Batman has, and the mystery is rooted deeper than just a villain out to kill the Bat (and for good measure, a villain is indeed out to kill the Bat). The combined efforts of this art team and Synder’s story is making this book even better than I anticipated and each week I get more and more excited for the next issue.
And now the Court of Owls is confronting Batman directly.
See, again I can’t wait for the next issue.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|The talking head issue allows for the rest of the art team to shine and we get a new layer to Bruce’s past.||Not much of the actual plot moves forward until the final moments.|
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