Thursday, 22 October 2015

Batman #26 [The New 52] - DC Comics

BATMAN No. 26, February 2014
Supposedly “the best thing I’ve done on Batman”, Scott Snyder’s writing for “Zero Year: Dark City” arguably also demonstrates some of the worst aspects of the Harvey Award-winner’s work on this ongoing comic book series. For whilst the New Yorker’s frighteningly ghoulish confrontation between Bruce Wayne and the horrifically malformed Doctor Death proves an exhilarating, albeit short-lived, reading experience. The American author’s ‘different version’ of the young billionaire is not only as bitter and jaded as his close-cropped hairstyle is thuggishly brutal. But so shockingly out of character to anything which has been written before that he even goes so far as to assault Lieutenant Gordon, and point the policeman’s pistol straight at the future commissioner’s face… And this is despite the fact that Jim had just saved the ungrateful wretch from literally having his skull crushed in; “If you’ve been waiting around for a thank you, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed, Gordon.”

Indeed, it’s genuinely hard to imagine a more dislikeable or unpleasant interpretation of the Dark Knight’s daytime alter ego and certainly difficult to believe that many of this magazine’s 119,443 buyers actually found the surly, quarrelsome industrialist anything other than disagreeably repugnant; especially when he angrily snaps at Alfred Pennyworth to “now give me my damn formal wear” simply because the loyal butler is desperately worried about his obnoxious master’s “linear cranial fracture.”

Snyder’s interpretation of James Gordon is sadly just as disappointing with “the first Batman supporting character ever to be introduced” apparently being just as “crooked” as his men and a far cry from Bill Finger’s creation, who holds such a “deep commitment to ridding the city of crime.” In fact the Brown University graduate’s “personal take on” the rising detective doesn’t even suggest that “Gordon had served in the United States Marine Corps prior to becoming a police officer” as he is literally upended and disarmed by a hospitalised Wayne, without the detestable ruffian even pausing for breath.

Issue Twenty Six of “Batman” also arguably contains some of artist Greg Capullo’s finest but also most disenchanting pencilling, with the Schenectady-born illustrator’s fast-paced layouts depicting Bruce momentarily outwitting the mad scientist Karl Hellfern proving to be both wonderfully dynamic and pulse-poundingly frantic. Dishearteningly however his drawings of the psychotic-looking shaven-headed titular character are particularly displeasing to the eye and simply make the 'yobbish' ingrate even more detestable.
The variant cover art of "BATMAN" No. 26 by Dustin Nguyen


  1. It was reassuring to read that you echoed my own feelings about the deficiencies in Snyder's depiction of Zero Year Bruce Wayne - should have been better. Bruce Wayne is the wellspring of Batman, and gets left behind as the new persona emerges, but I think Synder tried too hard, especially after depicting the evolution of Wayne through his hard-earned progress to add to his skills. I would sooner have seen a stoic having his eyes opened to how he could put those skills to use, changed by alliances with Alfred and Gordon.

    Instead, we got Bratman, Year Zero.

    1. Thanks PulpCitizen. This really was a bad issue for the 'New 52' young Bruce Wayne, and your "Bratman" is absolutely spot on :-) Its such a shame as I did enjoy Doctor Death's opening sequence as well.