Batman #25 – No Bones About It


IMG_0017Will Romine writes;

Hey-o Pals!

It's your old friend Will Romine.  It's been a while since you heard from me last.  I hope you weren't worried!  Now that I'm back, I think it's high time that I threw a little Batman #25 action your way, by means of a non-non sequitur.  Would you expect anything less from me?

I recently plowed through the first couple of years of Justice League of America, vol 1.  While I appreciated the work for the groundwork and universe building subsequent artists and writers built upon, I could help but notice that the characters were essentially the same guy.  Sure, Green Lantern has the ring, Flash runs, and Martian Manhunter does everything else, but switch around the word balloons, and the story doesn't suffer much.  It was only when writers started to give the characters "character" that comics could engage in complex story telling and develop as serious literature.

Snyder does with Gotham City what Silver Age writers eventually had to do with their characterizations, give them dimension and distinction.  Snyder writes Gotham not just as having character, but being a character.  To Snyder, a hero has to be the natural consequence of their surroundings.  The reason Superman can't be everywhere is because Superman couldn't work in any other city but Metropolis.

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But what is a city?  Is it the buildings?  Its history?  Or is it the people?  I believe that the root of Snyder's handling of Batman rests on addressing each component of a city.  "Court of Owls" tells the story of Gotham's architecture and how each element was designed to serve a specific need; first of the Owls, then of the Bat.  "Death of the Family" showcased one particular viewpoint of Gotham's leadership hierarchy.  "Zero Year: Dark City" features its people.

This issue marks the second "arc within an arc" of Zero Year.  Without giving too much away, the "Dark City" title is a little on the nose.  Electricity is an amazing thing and not only because it allows us to look at cat videos and post cusses in the comments section of those cat videos.  Electricity chases away the darkness forces accountability where none might normally exist.  "Dark City" shows what Gothamites revert to when the anonymity of the dark becomes de rigueur.

Snyder also brings relevancy to a character like the Riddler.  When the Riddler was created, you could devote an entire issue to Batman unraveling Mr. Nygma's cryptic wordsmithery.  Try that today, and even the densest of us can whip out a smartphone.  Riddler's plan in this arc is a commentary on how our instant access to information is making us a little slower and a little less resourceful.  In his latest appearance on Kevin Smith's "Fatman on Batman" podcast, Snyder mentions that though "Zero Year" is set in the past, it is written from a present day perspective.  How did I know that?  Google bitches!

I read this issue, and the twist ending is more than worth the cover price.  If you don't want to be spoiled, I've concealed the twist ending below.

Someone does something and it isn't the someone or something that you expect!

Anyways, I'm beat.  Tweet me right @notacomplainer.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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