|BATMAN No. 25, January 2014|
Whilst undoubtedly “reshaping the history of the Dark Knight, his allies, his enemies and his city”, Issue Twenty Five of “Batman” is arguably not as “astounding” a read as “DC Comics” advertised at its time of printing. Indeed, despite the overly expensive $4.99 priced book somehow being the best-selling title of November 2013, Scott Snyder’s narrative depicting a yobbish-looking Bruce Wayne doing little but talk to Alfred Pennyworth and later Jim Gordon, proves as enthralling an experience as the magazine’s dull all-black embossed cover…
Admittedly the creepy machinations of Doctor Death and his sinister “bone juice”, which causes “every bone in your body” to break and start “growing and twisting until you die”, is rather well-written, if not rather downright disturbing. But even this sinisterly unnerving storyline is then ruined by the New Yorker abruptly turning the character of Lucius Fox, the billionaire’s loyal business manager, into a psychotic servant of the mad scientist.
It’s also clear from “Zero Year: Dark City” that the American author is determined to depict a thoroughly hateful, and as a result disconcerting, relationship between the young industrialist and Jim Gordon. In fact Snyder actually has the thuggish close-cropped orphan cause the politely-spoken policeman to be facially injured by a flock of bats he manufactured to fly at the head of the curious detective; “You should get that looked at, Lieutenant Gordon… Now I’m sure you have better places to be. I know I do.”
Greg Capullo’s artwork is not an entirely agreeable facet to this particular twenty-four page publication either, with the Schenectady-born illustrator’s reimaging of the Batmobile into some horrific-looking “Hot Wheels” roadster, complete with golden radiator covers and gilded bat bonnet emblem, simply being one of the worst designed vehicles the Caped Crusader has ever had the misfortune to acquire. The fact the car can supposedly ‘transform’ itself in order to defy gravity and drive along ceilings makes the automobile appear even more ludicrous a contrivance and ruins an otherwise interesting stand-off between Gotham City’s finest and the masked vigilante.
Fortunately this comic does contain one saving grace courtesy of a short night-time tale concerning Cullen and Harper Row as two children terrified during a citywide black out. Co-written by James Tynion IV and immaculately drawn by Andy Clarke, this ‘minisode’ provides an early example of the siblings’ unhappy rapport with their father and Bluebird’s impressive understanding of electrics.
|The variant cover art of "BATMAN" No. 25 by Alex Garner|