Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Batman #7 [The New 52] - DC Comics

BATMAN No. 7, May 2012
Whilst writer Scott Snyder’s stance of trying to “give the artist room to flex his muscles, because you want him to shine on the book too” is very laudable. It is hard to imagine illustrator Greg Capullo being especially pleased with the substantial space afforded him within Issue Seven of “Batman”. For very little actually occurs within its twenty page narrative despite events having ‘moved forward’ a significant period of time since the previous edition ended. Instead all a slowly declining readership of 127,402 had to essentially enjoy was a lengthy dialogue-heavy sequence housed within the Batcave, where a somewhat unstable-looking Dark Knight provides Nightwing with a plethora of explanatory speeches as to just who the Talon is and that by taking an adolescent Dick Grayson under his wing, Bruce Wayne actually ‘saved’ the former acrobat from being recruited as an assassin of the Court of Owls.

Unfortunately this convoluted conversational piece lasts for eight pages, and disconcertingly only ends when the billionaire back-hands the former Robin hard enough to dislodge one of Grayson’s teeth. Admittedly the motivation behind such a bloody assault upon his ex-partner is to remove a tiny owl-shaped molar ‘’poisoning’ him with electrum, and the violent manner with which it’s done highlights how poor Batman’s thinking currently is. But the youth's reaction, to simply walk away whilst telling Bruce “I don’t care…” seems a rather restrained response bearing in mind just moments before he was struck in the face, Dick was angrily and passionately yelling at his mentor.

Disagreeably this rather uninspiring confrontation is not the only disappointment to befall Snyder’s usually enthralling storyline, as the American bewilderingly never actually explains just how the Caped Crusader managed to escape the watery grave he was last seen falling into either. Mentally and physically exhausted by his torturous eight days surviving the ‘Court of Owls Maze’ the crime-fighter apparently didn’t have the strength to break the thick surface ice preventing his getaway from Gotham Harbour… And yet “The Talons Strike!” starts with the Dark Knight being resuscitated by a mysterious young girl and Alfred informing him that the butler had seen “the hole in the ice.” So just how did the heavy muscular vigilante get from the bottom of the seabed into the van of Harper’s boss? Such explanations should not have to sought or clarified by visiting the “DC Comics Database”. 

Sadly having been given such a lack-lustre tale to illustrate, Greg Capullo’s pencilling appears uninspired at best. Snyder’s faith in the American artist being able to draw an entire issue simply concentrating of characters conversing with one another “because I know that he can add some subtleties to their expressions really, really well” is naively optimistic. For there are only so many different ways of drawing the same pair of ice-blue eyes, staring moodily from within a scowling visage.
The variant cover art of "BATMAN" No. 7 by Dustin Nguyen

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