Saturday, 18 April 2015

Batman #11 [The New 52] - DC Comics

BATMAN No. 11, September 2012
As the conclusion to one of “DC Comics” most “critically acclaimed titles” of “The New 52” and certainly one of the best-selling comic books of 2012, Issue Eleven of “Batman” is unfortunately something of a disappointment, despite its main story being extended to twenty-four pages in length in order fully facilitate this climax to ‘The Court of Owls’. Admittedly things start off well enough with artist Greg Capullo’s making good on his assurance that the Dark Knight would be involved in a ‘vicious, bombastic, violent, bone-crunching, gore-filled, blood and guts confrontation with his alleged brother’ Thomas Wayne Junior.

But whilst this highly anticipated fist-fight finally sees The Bat brawl the “lunatic in a bird suit”, it quickly degenerates into a rather uninspiring one-sided confrontation where no matter how hard or how fast the Caped Crusader strikes his opponent, the blow has absolutely no effect upon them whatsoever. As a result for the vast majority of sixteen pages, the reader must endure witnessing the cowled super-hero getting (yet another) beating of his lifetime as the last remaining Talon punches him through walls, flings him against skyscrapers and ultimately tries to have a battered Bruce Wayne mulched by a mid-flight airliner. Such a ‘whooping’ makes it hard to believe that the Dark Knight is anywhere near as formidable a foe as his iconic standing in the collective conscious of comic book fans would have you believe.

Yet Scott Snyder ensures that the billionaire is ultimately victorious by having the villain determine that the best way to ensure Batman’s demise is to blow both of them up at the top of a partially constructed high rise tower. Farfetched stuff… and whilst Thomas Wayne won’t “stay dead” on account of the super-regenerate compound within his blood, it seems a rather absurdly extreme method of dispatching his already unconscious brother. The only purpose such a contrived and preposterous finale serves is to allow the Caped Crusader the opportunity to simultaneously thumb his adversary in both eyes at the last minute and escape the fast-collapsing building.

Depressingly, the seven-page conclusion to “The Fall Of The House Of Wayne”, Snyder’s ‘back-up story’ co-written with James Tynion IV, provides an equally dissatisfying experience. Albeit the tale’s somewhat predictable resolution is a far less fanciful affair than its forerunner. Thrown by a Talon into the raging inferno which was once his residence, Jarvis Pennyworth dies alone and afraid. Whilst the letter he wrote his son Alfred, warning him to stay away from Wayne Manor and Master Bruce, burns along with him.

Possibly himself disheartened by such a bland, lack-lustre ending, illustrator Rafael Albuquerque unfortunately produces some quite appalling pencil work for this adventure, with his sketches of both Jarvis and an adult Bruce Wayne proving especially undisciplined and amateur-like.
The variant cover art of "BATMAN" No. 11 by Andy Clarke

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