Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Batman #32 [The New 52] - DC Comics

BATMAN No. 32, August 2014
Described by its American author as an issue which “sets up the final confrontation between Batman and the Riddler”, this penultimate instalment of the year-long “Zero Year” story-arc makes little logical sense and actually manages to undermine the lucidity of the crossover event’s preceding narrative. For having spent the past few editions desperately trying to determine the secret hideout of Gotham City’s deadly dictator Edward Nygma, “The World’s Greatest Detective” discovers all Jim Gordon and Lucius Fox's secretive efforts have been for naught and that his far brainer opponent has consistently been outthinking him. Indeed by the end of “Ark”, when several military jet-planes intent on levelling the metropolis are just forty minutes away, it becomes evident that the young vigilante has no other choice but to accept he has once again “failed against the Riddler” and hastily speculate upon his adversary’s location; “One guess. We have time for one guess.”

To make matters worse, Scott Snyder even scripts a distinctly disagreeable soliloquy for the Dark Knight which effectively has Bruce Wayne accepting that he won’t ever beat the Riddler and despondently deciding that his alter-ego isn’t actually about “winning. But failing…” Little wonder the New Yorker laughingly calls this “the craziest Batman story I think I’ll ever write.”

Equally as perplexing though is the revelation that “the Riddler’s big game” entails the super-villain delivering a “rip code” which will “signal the jets at Fort Robbins to scramble” and “strike” out at Gotham City. These air-to-land missiles will then detonate a number of explosives positioned underground throughout the municipal and “sink the whole city.” Such a convoluted plan genuinely makes little sense, as it would surely be infinitely easier for Nygma to simply trigger his numerous bombs remotely? Why does he need to go to the truly extraordinary lengths of isolating the conurbation’s inhabitants for months on end with a fleet of toxic air balloons, and then trick the authorities into ‘setting off’ his explosives via “an airstrike?”

Appearing perhaps just as confused by the contrived plot as doubtless many of this comic’s 130,077 readers were, is penciller Greg Capullo, with the Schenectady-born artist’s illustrations for this book being competent, yet also disconcertingly ‘cutesy’ at the same time. Certainly the figure of Edward Nygma seems to especially suffer with an adolescent youthful look that greatly belies the criminal’s true age. Whilst the former “X-Force” sketcher’s design for the Riddler’s automaton guards appears to have been heavily borrowed from film director Jonathan Mostow’s vision of Skylab's automatons…
The "Bombshell" variant cover art of "BATMAN" No. 32

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