This week, in the pages of Batman: Jim vs Robo-Bat, Jim vs Bloom, a couple of big surprises, and Bruce wrestles with a demon from his past.
My “What the hell?!?” moment for this issue:
Usually when I include these, I put them toward the end of the article so I can start things off on a positive note, but this was way too silly to not highlight more prominently. Plus, it opened the book, so why not let it open the review.
If you recall the cliffhanger from last issue, somehow under the control of Bloom, Robo-Bat had turned on Gordon. As we resume our story, Robo throws Jim straight up through the roof and headed towards the whirling blades of a TV chopper. To halt his upward ascent, Jim shoots a line down to the roof. Once the line stopped his upward momentum, Jim should have plummeted back down. Now maybe this is just me, but it seemed like he hung-out up there for a little too long. If that wasn’t odd enough, lets consider for a moment how far up he was thrown. Now I am just eyeballing this, but I’d say that is a good 60 or 70 feet. At what speed does one need to be propelled at to travel vertically, smash through a wood barrier, and still have enough momentum to go 70 feet plus high. That has to be some kind of lethal speed! Even if the initial impact with the roof didn’t knock him out, he survives a 70 foot fall back down into wooden crates and then gets up and continues to fight with Robo-bat. I’m guessing some of you breezed through this action scene without giving it a second thought, but to me, this was some serious Looney Tunes Wile Coyote nonsense right here!
After that brief sequence of wonky physics and questionable human limitations had passed, I actually quite enjoyed the rest of Jim’s fight with Robo-Bat. Utilizing previously displayed tech and a working knowledge of Robo-Bat’s standard operating procedures, Jim successfully and believably managed to take out a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Action set-pieces are a staple of any super hero comic books, but for me, when they are done plausible and adhere to a sense of the established heightened reality of the world, I’m always going to be a lot happier than when they throw caution to the wind and do something confusing and unbelievable just because they think it might look cool.
Say what you will about Gordon as Batman, but the man himself has a level of bravado and unwavering sense of duty that cannot be undermined. Unlike the recent rendition of the Batfleck flinch that was seen in the newest Batman vs Superman trailer, Gordon doesn’t flinch when faced with death. Maybe Gordon hasn’t succeeded in fulfilling all my criteria for what Batman should be, but in this regard, he has. When it comes down to it, he looks death in the face like a man, instead of cowering under his flailing arms.
This issue features a scene between Bruce Wayne and Duke Thomas that had me mildly irritated. It’s nothing that can really be gleamed from the context of the scene itself, but in the fact that I feel Scott Snyder lied to the audience in an interview that he conducted a few months ago. I’m paraphrasing here, but Snyder said that Bruce wouldn’t just walk into an alley where a mugging was taking place, have a traumatic flashback, remember who he was, and have his abilities again. The memories and the abilities he had aren’t forgotten and retrievable, they just aren’t there anymore. This is an idea that has been reiterated and confirmed in the comics several times. Most notably by both Alfred and Wonder Woman. If Bruce has no forgotten memories, then what the hell is this:
How could he be hallucinating about bats unless he subconsciously remembers them from his previous life? Is Snyder trying to say that bats are in the very genetic makeup of what makes him Bruce Wayne? The scene also point out that Bruce has been using his detective skills. Skills that he supposedly no longer has access to. Unless again, Snyder is trying to say that a high level of deductive reasoning is also a genetic advantage that Bruce Wayne just naturally has. It seems pretty clear that Duke is under the impression that Bruce is consciously choosing to ignore his Batman responsibilities in exchange for his new “normal” life. While Duke may not be entirely correct, this is starting to seem a lot more like repressed memories as opposed to the straight up no memories that Snyder keeps trying to push.
In case you missed it from that last paragraph, Duke knows that Bruce was Batman. The “I know Bruce is Batman” club keeps getting bigger and bigger and that is starting to irritate me too. Here, it is simply implied that Duke is going on a feeling that Bruce was Batman. But if you take into account all the info he seems to have on Bruce’s past, and factor in the way in which he deduced that Grayson was Robin from Grayson #12, you start to get a clearer picture of just how much Duke really did to figure out what he knows. To be honest, when you consider how easy that actually was, it makes it hard for me to believe that everybody and their brother hasn’t figured it out too.
Yep. That’s how awesome Greg Capullo’s art is. Just mention his name, and stuff starts spontaneously combusting all around you.
- I genuinely thought that Snyder was going to pass the buck to the next guy, so this was quite the surprise for me. What do you guys think? Is the Joker suffering from the same kind of “amnesia” as Bruce, or is it still him inside and he is just starting some new mental campaign to mess with Batman/Bruce? Did he also “die”, and in doing so, did the Dionesium “cure” his previous condition of white skin and green hair, or is it just makeup and hair dye as usual? I’m going with the later. It’s Joker in makeup messing with Bruce. If he had shown up in normal clothes, I would have gone with the former, but he is wearing a suit reminiscent of his classic white ensemble from The Dark Knight Returns. An amnesiac Joker wouldn’t have chosen to wear his own clothes. Unless it is residual memories encouraging his fashion sense. But supposedly that isn’t possible, as we have been told in the case of Bruce, even though this issue dictates to the contrary of those facts. Although, if it is the later, he seems to have forgiven Batman/Bruce as he isn’t trying to kill him anymore. I guess we will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, speculating is fun!
- I loved the final shot of the book. Batman and the Joker are two moths forever being drawn to the flame that is the eternal conflict between them.
While we are in the spoiler tag, I’d also like to discuss that little plot twist with Bloom. On my initial read through, I thought that the final showdown between Gordon and Bloom was very anti-climactic. It just seemed far too quick and easy after several previous issues had depicted Bloom as nigh invulnerable. It also didn’t help matters that after all this buildup, we wanted the satisfaction of seeing Gordon hand it to Bloom, but the beat down end up taking place off-panel. Obviously, this was my initial sentiment after reaching the halfway point of the book. I should have known something was up after the first page basically telegraphed an upcoming surprise, but for some reason, it still got me. Maybe it was because after seven issues I just figured that the warehouse confrontation with Bloom had to be the end. For whatever reason, not expecting the surprise twist and getting a second chance at a more satisfying final confrontation with Gordon made me very happy.
- This issue of Batman features dialogue from “The Karate Kid“. Granted, it’s just those three words, but who can’t help but think of Karate Kid when someone says, “Sweep the leg”. The fact that the dialogue doesn’t really fit the scene makes it even more obvious to me that it was an intended reference. Jim isn’t really sweeping the leg, now is he? I’d call that shooting.
- The little black book variant covers for Batman #47 come bagged and are randomized, so you won’t know which one of the three covers you’re getting till you purchase it and open it up.
- You want to see Snyder’s version of Man vs Machine.
- You’re ready to see Gordon go man to man against Bloom.
- You want to see the first seeds of Batman’s return get sown as Bruce illustrates man vs self.
- Greg Capullo…
Overall, I’d like Batman back. But to be serious, even though this book has been missing the title character for almost 8 months now, it still manages to entertain. While I look forward to Batman’s return, I’m trepidatious about how Snyder intends to re-implement Batman into the story, considering how much this issue contradicts previous plot points. If you are impatiently waiting the return of Batman, then this is still not the book for you. If you can look past that, the art is top notch, and while the plot is probably the most questionable it has ever been, it’s hard to argue with the quality of the writing being presented.
SCORE: 7 / 10