Deadshirt Is Reading… is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt’s staff, contributing writers, and friends-of-the-site offer their thoughts on Big Two cape titles, creator-owned books, webcomics and more. For more of our thoughts on this week’s new comics, take a look at Wednesday’s Deadshirt Comics Shopping List.
Joe Stando is reading…
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo (pencils), Danny Miki (inks), and FCO Plascencia (colors)
Lettered by Steve Wands
“Look! The travelling you did as a young man! The negative space! What’s it shaped like, Bruce?”
I’m of two minds about this issue of Batman, and the direction the story might take. On the one hand, I continue to love everything about Gordon as the GCPD Batman, and his nemesis Mr. Bloom. The “Gordon vs. the suit” fight here is dynamic and clever, and the main story beats are a reversal that evoked The Dark Knight for me in the best way. Bloom has seemed less and less human since his introduction, with his creepy shapeshifting abilities rendering him gaunt and monstrous, and the reveal that there’s more than one of him is a solid evolution. I was initially feeling tired of this back and forth, but this week injected some new fire into the fight, while still developing some B-plots that will clearly come into the fore soon.
The Bruce Wayne stuff is also well-executed, with a dazzling half-page spread of exactly what’s still lurking in his subconscious. Duke is a good foil to Bruce here, as he’s someone with an investment in the one true Batman, but not a character who’d immediately push Bruce all the way, like Dick Grayson. My problem here is that although this is a story about Gotham without Bruce Wayne’s Batman, he still never really left, and while the amnesia is a solid way to look at the man he might have been, it’s taking up too much of the story for me.
And now, as of the last page, the Joker’s back.
Snyder’s take on the Joker has never really worked for me. I get what he’s going for, and I respect it, but these horror stories about the immoral slasher man don’t bring anything new or interesting to the character (although there’s no denying they play to Capullo’s strengths well). Even more than Bruce Wayne, I was excited about the new status quo taking Joker off the board, writing a (for now) final conflict between the two enemies and then focusing on a Gotham without them. I’m sure there’s interesting stuff ahead, since Joker at least appears to be healed, body and soul, the way Bruce is. Is it a ruse? Will they become friends? Will they kiss? Who knows. But bringing him back just starts a countdown to an inevitable Joker story, and I’ve had enough of those to last another few years, at least.
But overall, I still enjoyed this issue, and I’m still here for Gordon’s grizzled Bat-Iron Man as long as the team keeps making comics about him. I could very well be way off, and the Joker stuff could be a game-changer for me. But it’s hard to miss someone you see all the time, and “more Joker” is among the very last things I wanted from the book.
Thanks for reading about what we’re reading! We’ll be back next week with a slew of suggestions from across the comics spectrum. In the meantime, what are you reading? Tell us in the comments section, on Twitter or on our Facebook Page!