By Chris Fenn
Thank you Gerry Duggan; this is what I’ve wanted to see in my main Batman title.
Batman #34 is a wonderful one issue story called ‘The Meek’ which is a welcome break from reading some really long story arcs. The plot is your standard find the murderer book, but instead of using copy-cat killers or any of the usual big names we get a nameless, disposable villain; which in my opinion does the book a lot of favours.
The book felt very ‘Black Mirror’ to me, especially in terms of tone, which is interesting as Scott Snyder is credited as co-writing the story to this issue. One observation I have made on Snyder’s work before is that he doesn’t write about Batman, he writes about Gotham and features Batman within the book, but I don’t think I can honestly say the same about this story.
I found that the art style of this book was also similar to that of ‘Black Mirror’ and both really fit the narrative of their stories. What I really like about the art in this book (by Matteo Scalera) and Black Mirror (Jock) is both artists can really build tension and atmosphere without making anything feel over the top. I also loved Scalera’s Batmobile, it seemed like a beautiful mixture of the Killing Joke Batmobile, the Tim Burton Batmobile and the Tumbler.
It has to be said that Batman doesn’t get the most ‘screen time’ this issue, but his dialogue and actions make him feel like a benevolent and vengeful guardian of Gotham, which to me makes him closer to the core of the character, rather than the anger filled Batman we’ve seen in the bigger story arcs. I actually found this issues Batman more in line with the Animated Series interpretation.
To focus more on the comparison to the Animated Series; when Batman ultimately apprehends the villain of the story he doesn’t just lock him in Arkham, he adds a twist to the punishment so the villain doesn’t get any ‘reward’ from his actions. Touches like that that made me fall in love with the animated series, and if Snyder can continue to produce good characterisation like this then I’m eagerly awaiting his newer issues.
Even though I am a reader of Batman Eternal, I found the two page spread at the start of the book a brilliant way to recap what had happened in the Batman world before and during the publishing of Zero Year; it wasn’t an overload of exposition and it felt natural to the events of the plot.
For anybody looking to get into the New 52 Batman titles without having to wade through back issues or pick up a bunch of trades I would certainly recommend this to you, and for anybody up to date on their Batman titles I would recommend this as a brilliant story of Batman being Batman.
For more comic views and reviews follow Chris on Twitter at @fenneth1989