Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Batman #7 Review

By Dan Horn
March 27, 2012 - 17:34

SPOILER ALERT: I will be alluding to a few spoilers in order to address concerns about this particular issue. Proceed with caution.

Even with individual installments of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman being so incredibly strong (Batman #1 and #5 both earned a rare 10/10 rating from the Bin), it's difficult to overlook the dismissive manner in which Snyder ties-up his cliffhangers from issue to issue. Whether Batman is shrugging off mortal knife wounds or effortlessly dodging collapsing skyscrapers, there's an overwhelming sense building that perhaps Snyder's Batman wouldn't be quite as interesting without its cheap thrills. This issue isn't much different, as Batman finds himself inexplicably alive, if not well, after ostensibly drowning in the previous issue. There's something else a bit incongruous here: a new character named Harper, who Snyder really sells as a previously established character, which is far more confusing at first than tantalizing. Harper's appearance had me scouring my back issues for some evidence of her existence, but to no avail. Then I remembered this nifty Internet thing. However, I can't imagine that a new reader or even a reader so salty as myself navigated this particular scene without feeling like he or she had missed something crucial.

There are other discrepancies here as well. Several months ago, my colleague Andy Frisk wrote an editorial on the way in which Scott Snyder's Batman had caught up to the Chris Nolan films in caliber. At the time I agreed. Batman was indeed of an impeccable quality. Though different from the Dark Knight films in aesthetic and subtext, the Batman comic was coming from the same dark, pessimism. Snyder's recent use of zany pseudoscience to explain the source of the Talons' power is in direct contrast with that cynical realism and  produces a thematic unevenness. It's also more than a bit difficult to suspend disbelief on several levels, like a grown Dick Grayson still somehow having a dental implant that would have had to have been surgically embedded when he was a very young child, if Bruce's deduction in this issue is accurate. This hardly seems probable when considering the order in which primary teeth decay and what age Dick Grayson was when taken in by Bruce. What I'm trying to say is it's an improbable stretch of the imagination, even for a Batman comic, and it's a symptom of a larger problem in regards to storytelling: Batman is less of the comprehensive epic readers supposed it to be and more of a tangled mess of unsustainable convolution and plot contrivances. Of course, this calls into question something much more subjective to the reader: do you read comics merely for serialized thrills or do you read them to find original stories that deserve to be told? Batman certainly operates fantastically as a comic book serial, but is this a story that needs to be told, or even one that we haven't heard before?

Coincidentally, I have an answer for that. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this idea of chipping away at Batman until there is nothing left but Bruce Wayne's pathological need for justice, or rather vengeance perhaps, has been done before, and fairly recently at that. Just a few years ago, Grant Morrison's Batman: RIP arc had the caped crusader donning purple and yellow tights, pulling out his molars, and wielding a baseball bat in paranoid episodes after the organization known as the Black Glove had reduced Bruce to a foam-lipped lunatic. Hell, even Knightfall had similar themes and subject matter. I'd be lying, though, if I claimed that either of those preceding stories were better written than Snyder's "Court of Owls" saga. There's something to be said of the only comic that I make time to read immediately after my weekly comic book store purchases, which is something that couldn't necessarily be said of Morrison's run and most definitely couldn't be said of the more recent Tony Daniel Batman run and the current Detective Comics.

And therein lies the difficulty in grading a comic book like the rebooted Batman: love or hate certain aspects of the manner in which this series is handled, but you can't deny the formidable overall quality of this book, Greg Capullo's gorgeous artwork included. Batman, triumphs, shortcomings, and all, is simply a blessing for many discerning fans of the legendary vigilante. This just so happens to be an issue that doesn't do enough to help readers suspend their disbelief, in effect showing its ass a bit.

Rating: 6 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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