“Batman” #42 feels like the first real issue with Detective James Gordon under the cape and cowl, and while Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo make good on their effort to cement a new era for the vigilante hero, their storytelling is hampered by middling conclusion.
Story by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Greg Capullo
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 8, 2015
It’s been almost four years since the New 52 began. In that time, very few titles have kept their original creative teams and steered clear of editorial oversight. Batman has consistently been its own beast, and now we’ve got a brand new Bat.
For the first time, ever Scott Snyder gives a Batman who’s on the same side of the law. Gordon’s secret identity is Batman, and he’s on the city’s bankroll. So already things are quite different than ever before. This issue shows the growing pains of living in Bruce Wayne’s legacy. Much like Dick Grayson, Jim has problems accepting the identity.
However, when things get rolling this new mecha-Batman really packs a distinctive punch. There is the first real showdown of Gordon’s career here, and it’s epitomized in a moment where he’s seeing the city from above for the first time. He’s good at being the bat, he’s good at fighting back, and he’s got the brain of a detective. But he’s hampered by doubt. He can’t decide how best to live up to Wayne’s legacy.
Capullo is hitting all new strides in this issue. He manages to channel a little bit of Clayface in this new villain on the streets, but nothing feels like a retread thanks to the way he handles this new Bat. Everything flows with a unique sense of urgency, the lighting feels different, and we’re truly in a brand new world for the costumed vigilante.
It’s tough though because as Snyder plants seeds towards Gordon’s first supervillain we’re left with a conclusion that will ultimately divide readers. It’s no secret that changes in comics don’t often last, and that a new “status quo” is anything but, yet it seems things are building far too quickly to the resolution everyone knew was coming.
It begs the question of just how long Batman can feel like itself without the presence of Bruce Wayne. But it feels as if some editorial oversight is stepping in to remind the readers that things haven’t strayed too far from the previous arc.
Otherwise, seeing James Gordon as a government sanctioned Batman is a thrilling and compelling new chapter to Batman that people won’t soon forget, even if it doesn’t last long.