Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Scott Snyder is THE Batman author

Batman: The Black MirrorBatman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gotham's Batman, Dick Grayson, takes on the Dealer, a man selling the weapons of supervillains stolen from the GCPD evidence room, gun runners harassing a mob bosses daughter, and possibly the greatest threat of all, Commissioner Gordon's son...

You know, when DC put Dick Grayson in the Bat-costume, we all knew it wouldn't last and while I liked the issues of Batman & Robin I read, I didn't find anything earth-shattering and thought Dick's tenure as the Caped Crusader would be pretty forgettable. I WAS WRONG!

There are epic tales of the Bruce Wayne Batman that everyone mentions: The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight, Year One, The Long Halloween, the list goes on and on. This is Dick Grayson's epic.

Scott Snyder and Jock take the reader on a dark journey, following Dick Grayson as he tries to fill Bruce Wayne's shoes. While Grant Morrison made Batman fun again when he put Dick in the costume, Scott Snyder made me believe.

Batman goes up against The Dealer, Roadrunner, Tiger Shark, and even the Joker, but the most chilling villain in the Black Mirror is James Gordon Jr, the Commissioner's son. I can't even think of another comic book villain that actually scared me but James was scary because he was so real, so plausible. And I had a batgasm when he finally got what was coming to him.

That's about all I can say without giving too much away. I know I clicked the spoilers box but I didn't spoil more than the dust jacket. If I could give this six stars, I would. Scott Snyder is the real deal and I'm going to continue buying everything of his I can find.

Batman: Gates of GothamBatman: Gates of Gotham by Scott Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Someone is blowing up Gotham City landmarks and it points to someone with links to Gotham's founding fathers. Can Batman, Red Robin, Robin, and Black Bat stop the menace of... the Architect?

After the awesomeness of The Black Mirror, this was a little bit of a letdown but still pretty good. Dick continues to adjust to his role as Batman as he pieces together the identity of the Architect with the help of his partners.

Hush and the Penguin play important roles but Gotham City itself is almost a character. While I didn't think the art was that great, Scott Snyder's writing was superb. He really makes me believe Gotham is a real place. The interplay between Damian and the other team members was probably my favorite part of the book. Man, that Damian is an arrogant little shit. Then if your dad was Batman...

Three stars. It's good but not in the same league as The Black Mirror.

Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of OwlsBatman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Court of Owls, a long rumored secret society from Gotham's past, makes its presence known in the form of a knife wielding assassin called The Talon. Can Batman hope to defeat an enemy even more familiar with Gotham than him?

For my money, Scott Snyder can do no wrong. Batman: The Court of Owls is no exception. At first glance, the tale looks like a combination of Batman: The Black Glove and Batman: Gates of Gotham but it's a better story than either so far.

I really want to gush about this but I don't want to ruin any surprises. It's not every day a body is found with Dick Grayson's DNA under it's fingernails. It's not every day you see a killing machine taking the fight to Batman or Batman being trapped by villains for days.

One thing I really liked is that Scott Snyder isn't afraid to show us Batman isn't invincible. I hate how in recent years, Batman is portrayed as a combination of Captain America and Reed Richards instead of the World's Greatest Detective, as he should be. Snyder does a pretty good job of stripping away some of that. I can't see his Batman building a Brother-Eye satellite, for instance.

Snyder's writing is superb, as always. I can tell he draws from a deeper well than many comic authors, one filled with historical fiction and conspiracy thrillers. Greg Capullo's art is good too, I guess.

The Court of Owls is an easy 4. I may even bump it up to a 5 once the rest of the story is told.

Batman, Vol. 2: The City of OwlsBatman, Vol. 2: The City of Owls by Scott Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Court of Owls is striking all over Gotham and their first target is Wayne Manor! Can an injured Bruce Wayne and Alfred fight them off and mobilize the rest of the Bat-Family? And what is Bruce Wayne's connection to the Court?

The Court of Owls storyline comes to a conclusion in this volume. Batman dons a suit of armor and kicks some undead ass as he figures out who is leading the Court of Owls in it's assault on Gotham.

I liked that Lincoln Marsh was revealed as the head of the Court and he may or may not be Batman's long lost brother, Thomas Wayne Jr, who appeared in one tale pre-Crisis, only he was an older bad seed brother in that depiction. Owlman's ambiguous end leaves the door open for more Court of Owls intrigue down the line.
That's about all there is to it. Snyder crafts a pretty creepy Batman tale and Capullo's art is up to the task. The only gripe I have is that it felt like a ton of stuff was missing, probably because I've only read the Scott Snyder Bat-title in the New 52 and not all the ancillary bat-stuff.

Four stars. Snyder is shaping up to be the best bat-writer in decades.

Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the FamilyBatman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family by Scott Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After disappearing for a year, the Joker returns with a vengeance, striking at Batman where it hurts the most: his family! Can Batman stop the Joker from murdering his friends and family without killing him?

I got this from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley!

Here we are again, another phenomenal Batman tale from Scott Snyder. This time, he utilizes an old Bat-foe, The Joker, and sets him against the Bat-family. How does he do?

Snyder passes with flying colors. Death of the Family is the best Joker story since The Killing Joke. The Joker hits Batman where he lives, taking out Commissioner Gordon and Alfred with relative ease and sowing the seeds of mistrust within the Bat-family.

Snyder did his homework on this one, referencing some early Batman tales and bringing in A-list Batman villains to help, namely Penguin, Two-Face, and the Riddler. I was hoping he'd bring in Catwoman and we'd get an homage to the 60's Batman movie where he had a shark hanging from his leg but we can't have everything.

The Joker was a very chilling villain in this volume, capable of taking out members of the GCPD in the police station without seeming like a super hero. There's a fair amount of psychological horror in this one and at the end, it's hard to shake the feeling that the Joker did what he set out to do, to sow discord between Batman and his extended family.

The art and writing were superb. Capullo has come a long way since X-Force days and Snyder is still the lone comic writer on my must read list. Four out of five stars. Bat-fans will not want to miss.

Still on Goodreads

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