|BATMAN No. 21, August 2013|
Considering that writer Scott Snyder aspired to make this “yearlong comic book crossover event” “bold, fun, fast and bright” it does not bode well when the most exciting thing about its opening instalment is the boringly bland and blank beveled cover illustration. Yet disappointingly this is arguably all that “Secret City: Part One” has to offer its 142,088 readers as the American author desperately tries to create a “big, huge, city-shaking, action, sci-fi sometimes adventure!” But instead produces a messy disjointed narrative which proves to be overly complicated by first disconcertingly starting presumably near the story’s conclusion and then leaps to different periods in Bruce Wayne’s past.
Indeed for its first few pages, which depict a street urchin first spear-fishing in a water-logged underground train station and then being rescued by a short-sleeved crossbow carrying Dark Knight, Issue Twenty One of “Batman” genuinely creates the impression that this is someway an “Elseworlds” tale rather than the beginning of the creative team’s questionable decision to make the Caped Crusader’s origin story “totally their own”.
Admittedly the heavily disguised crimefighter’s four-page ‘run-in’ with the Red Hood provides a little amusement as the billionaire’s well-meaning butler is told to “kindly… shut up” during a risky getaway sequence. But even this is spoilt by the New Yorker having the hero defiantly give the mysterious criminal mastermind an offensive hand gesture in the final panel. To make matters worse this escapade somewhat confusingly occurs “five months earlier” than the previous “six years ago…” and is then followed, without any warning, by a scene depicting a pre-teen Bruce being handed a “visual mapper” by his father Thomas Wayne?
This ‘choppy’ sedentary dialogue-reliant storytelling unfortunately persists throughout the magazine’s narrative with scenes regularly ‘flitting’, with no apparent warning whatsoever, between a time when the ‘fledgling’ Batman’s Uncle Philip, Head of Wayne Enterprises, is seemingly conspiring with a certain Edward Nygma in order to ‘kill his nephew’ and a much earlier, more innocent period in the vigilante’s life, when he was just a boy.
Equally as substandard, though infinitely more action-packed, is Snyder’s secondary tale co-written with James Tynion IV and unimpressively drawn by Rafael Albuquerque “Where The Hell Did He Learn To Drive?!” A supposedly humorous tale concerning a youthful Bruce Wayne apparently learning “all the tricks” of being a getaway driver from an unpleasantly arrogant villain who has “killed twenty-three police officers in thirteen countries over the last three years…”
|Writer: Scott Snyder, Artist: Greg Capullo and Inker: Danny Miki|