I'm a 35 year old Canadian living in Ontario. I read comics, I love to draw and I collect comic art. I also teach karate, play hockey, and am a dad to 3 girls! My comic book passion lies with Batman and his pals with Nightwing taking a very close #2 favourite position. I began collecting comic art in 2013 and I have several commissions done by Ken Lashley and an amazing Francis Manapul Batman. As well I have sold a few of my own creations!
It is a brave new world for a brave new Batman in the pages of Batman #42. If you’ve been away for a while, or are one of those people that decided that they would never read another Batman book because of Bunny-Robo-Batman you might just want to come back as things are not as bleak as they might have seemed.
Before we go any further, there will be spoilers contained here and so if you have the book sitting in your to-read pile or it’s still waiting for you at the comic book store you might want to come back once you have had a chance to read the pages.
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In issue #42 Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo continue their run on the Batman book exploring what life is now like for Jim Gordon as he has taken up the role of Batman in the wake of the Dark Knight’s apparent death at the hands of the Joker. We see Jim practicing throwing Bat-a-rangs in a practice session where he is trying to get that skill nailed down since he figures the original Batman did not use a gun so neither should he. This scene is one that forms the basis for the overall narrative of the story which is how does one “be” Batman? For Jim it seems that being Batman means living up to the standards of the old one, and having a Batmobile.
Jim does get his Batmobile in the pages of this issue thanks to Julia Pennyworth landing herself some sort of covert position within the GCPD and getting the typical Batman tech to this new version of Batman. The new Batmobile is however more of a Bat-Truck.
The action of the issue comes from the continuing story that it seems that someone is implanting the gang bosses and criminal leaders of the narrows of Gotham with seeds that at first give them a specific superpower and then kill them with a massive burst of radioactivity. This villain has been imbued with the ability to control the earth and masonry around him. With this ability he manages to have “Officer Batman”, as he puts it, at his mercy until Jim realizes that he does have his new Batmoblie to call upon. He smashes it into his attacker destroying his brand new wheels, but also stopping the bad guy.
In the final pages of the issue we get a bit more information on what has happened to Bruce Wayne, who apparently is not as dead as previously suspected! We did get a one panel tease of this in issue 41 but here we find out that Bruce is working at a teen centre in some capacity. We also find that Duke Thomas is there, who made appearances during Zero Year, and he has no idea what is going on with the original Batman at this point either. Jim comes to visit the centre seemingly fully aware that Bruce Wayne is there and in a side room introduces himself as Batman and says the two men need to talk. Does he know for certain that Bruce is the old Batman?
How exactly is Bruce Wayne alive and well when we watched him die at the end of issue 40?
It seems that, as usual, Snyder has some master plan in place and he’s building toward something, in a “what does Batman really mean” kind of way. Capullo again demonstrates why I love him as an artist, the body language and facial expressions convey so much story to the reader in a way few other artists can.
As a stand alone issue this book would be hard to make sense of, which is typical of comics today, but as part of a whole I can’t help but feel like we are building toward something epic!
Chris Barnes is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @Chrispy47