Riddle me this…what do you get when you cross a classic super villain death trap, Gordon defying the laws of physics, fire breathing, and scenes reflecting the recent Christopher Nolan films.  You get an awesome Batman comic book, that’s what.

Given that Batman is celebrating his 75th anniversary this year it would not be hard to believe that there has been some reuse of ideas over the years.  I assume that at some point everything will have been done and that there will be nothing new left to show us.  This is not that moment.  While we are indeed presented with a super villain death trap that calls to mind the classics from the good old days I would be hard pressed to recall ever seeing anything like this on the pages of a Batman comic book before.  Or anywhere for that matter.  And the attention to the visual details inside of the death trap were quite beautiful.

Seeing Batman stripped of all his high tech gear and technology is a real treat.  I have seen more and more in the comics recently where he just pulls out some hand scanner, does a quick internet check, and then we are on our way.  I don’t like how they have been skipping over some of the characters more intriguing elements recently.  We get to see Batman using his mind and his muscles in this one, pitting himself against man and monster, needing to make spur-of-the-moment decisions to reach his goals and utilizing the given environment at hand to achieve victory.  These are core marks of the characters success and it is great to see it shown properly.

Right from the start, this story is filled with mounting tension that originates with our heroes huddling up and discussing the battle to come.  While reading the scene, you get a real sense of how far the odds are stacked against our heroes and just how difficult the task against them is going to be.  In a movie this is the kind of scene that is a precursor to the finale.  What we are presented with, definitely plays out that way. There is nothing in the story that is a mirror image of the Christopher Nolan films but I found certain characters coinciding quite closely with their on-screen counterparts in regards to their functions.  In Batman Begins we see Batman playing the distraction to Ra’s while Gordon handles the true play.  In The Dark Knight we see Lucius handling the tech aspects.  All three of these characters demonstrate these same facets within this story.

At times Scott Snyder has been accused of having way too much dialogue in his stories.  In this particular instance it actually plays well into the story.  Batman is stalling for time so it makes sense to have an increased amount of verbiage flowing all over the page.  One of the few choices I found uncharacteristic was the depiction of Bruce from the flashbacks.  He looks like a total punk and I for one don’t picture Bruce as some kind of thug.  Also, his waking hallucinations were unexpected;  it is widely known that Bruce suffers from traumatic flashbacks, usually in an unconscious dream state, but how common is it for Bruce to have visual hallucinations while awake without having first been gassed by a villain.

Spoiler

  • Batman just set a lion’s head on fire by spitting lit fuel on it!!!  I have never seen anything like that before in any medium.
  • My only real complaint from this issue is Gordon Jumping 200 feet off a building and suffering no discernible injuries.  It is easy to determine the scale of the building from page 5.  Hitting a target area that seems no wider than 8 feet from 200 feet away for someone untrained in this kind of activity seems a heroic feat.  The highest recorded high dive that I could find was 177 feet and that guy injured himself.  172 feet is the next highest without injury.  I will admit that I also found evidence that someone survived a 220 ft fall from a bridge into water.  Also you would need a minimum of 19 feet of water to slow your velocity from that height.  I don’t think that subway entrance was that deep.  I know I am nitpicking here but it really threw me out of the comic.  While I will admit that this is a comic and larger than life things occur in comics, the Batman comics are largely based in a reality that is close to our own.  So when I see something like this it is hard to suspend my disbelief.  I would have let it slid if Batman had been the one doing it since he represents amazing feats within this world but Gordon is just an everyman and should not have been able to pull that off.

Interesting Facts

The Riddler’s real name is Edward Nashton.  He had his last name legally changed to Nigma.  That way he could be E. Nigma or enigma.

Recommended If…

  • Your a fan of super villain death traps.
  • You like seeing Batman use his abilities, not solving every problem with a gadget from the utility belt.

Overall

Do I really need to convince you to buy a Batman comic written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo.

SCORE: 8/10