Wednesday, April 10, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman #19

Gordon and Bullock respond to a surprising bank robbery, and that's by Gotham standards. Why? Because Bruce Wayne is the one holding up the bank. Bruce emerges with a hostage, strapped with dynamite, as Gordon tries to reason with him. Gordon can't make sense of the situation, and as Bruce throws a smoke bomb to make his way towards a motorcycle, he grabs a shot gun, and shoots Gordon in the chest (who is wearing a bulletproof vest). As Bruce runs over him, Gordon looks up to see the Batman suit under Bruce's button up shirt.

Days ago, both Bruce and Damian broke up the Reaper's plan to send flowers laced with an airborne poison to a Falcone funeral. As Bruce reviews the cowl's footage of his last mission with his son, Alfred asks if he needs anything, but gets somewhat of a cold shoulder from him. Alfred then tries to tell Bruce not to lose himself again, like he did with Jason, but Bruce refuses to speak about Damian. Alfred changes the subject to a funeral happened later in the day for a man formerly under the employ of Wayne Enterprises to help revitalize the city. Bruce doesn't plan on attending the funeral, but pauses when Alfred says the man died by suicide. This doesn't make sense to Bruce, who knew the man was terminally ill, but had secretly gotten some help (as to not alert shareholders) and was essentially cured of his illness. Bruce then finds that just prior to his apparent suicide, the man was also wanted for multiple murders, something that's even more out of character.

Intrigued by the mystery, Bruce investigates the deceased man's apartment, and finds some hidden flight records that show he was apparently out of the country receiving treatment at the time of the murders. Things get even weirder when the man shows up behind Bruce with a flame thrower, which leads to a batarang to the face. The man makes his escape into the lobby below his apartment, but when Bruce follows him, he can't find the man, even with the help of facial recognition on his cowl.

While returning to the cave, the batcomputer recognizes the DNA sample as the man who had supposedly died. Bruce tells his computer to search for any irregularities, which it finds, but barely any. Turns out, some of Clayface's DNA was found, but Clayface is evolving, where he used to only be able to change his appearance, now he can change himself down to DNA by just coming in contact with a person.

The next day, Bruce meets with Lucius Fox in his office about a new Batsuit, presumably one that would prevent Clayface from gathering any DNA from him. Bruce then asks Lucius how the wake was, which Lucius responds it was "very affecting." Though... it wasn't a wake that was held recently, it was a funeral, and the JIG IS UP! Bruce tries to grab a fire extinguisher to combat Clayface, but is grabbed by the clay monster, as he's apparently a big part in Karlo's attempt to take down Batman once and for all.

Meanwhile, in the backup, we get the first Batman/Superman team-up in this title, as Clark comes to find Bruce, since his calls had been ignored earlier. Clark tries to get Bruce to open up, but Bruce doesn't have any of it, and directs Clark to the situation at hand, odd lights coming from a building, cops going in, and a lot of them not coming out.

Clark sticks with Bruce as he goes into the building where the find what seems to be a will o' the wisp, which aren't exactly a good thing to follow... regardless, they both do. Clark, not being big on paranormal stuff, begins to start feeling sick, as they find a ghostly girl in a room full of dead bodies, with some ritualistic symbols drawn on the floor. Turns out the girl had a friend, who is dead now... but he thought summoning some big old ghostly monster was a good idea, and as Bruce and Clark see said ghost, that's where the book stops.


The Good:

This issue was like a breath of fresh air. Snyder has said many times that this was an homage to the animated series, and you can see how the comparison applies, pretty easily With this book being two big story lines one right after another, with some 0 issue and Harper Row stuff scattered in between, a short and sweet story like this is a perfect breather before we get into Zero Year, which was a term directly referenced by Gordon in this issue, which makes me think it's something more than just a title for the story. The back up also had the same vibe, as it seems to be another short, unrelated story, going for an animated series vibe, only this time with Superman. James Tynion, who rolled solo on that back up, absolutely nailed that "Clark knows something is wrong, tries to speak with Bruce, but Bruce has nothing of it and just goes to work" dynamic between the two, which was potentially my favorite part of the book.

Greg Capullo also returned to the title, and with him, he brought Danny Miki on inks. Miki is a top tier inker, and does Capullo's work great justice. If you pay attention to that sort of thing, you can definitely notice the difference between Miki and Glapion, who inked all the issues prior. Miki's inks look very clean and deliberate, where Glapion's usually had somewhat of an energetic flare to them. Both inkers are great, let me be clear, I'm just trying to put to words the differences I can see in the two styles. Miki brings a different style, that's for sure, but it works just as well as Glapion's did, as far as I'm concerned.

The Bad: 

Where I did appreciate this issue just doing it's own thing, same with the back up, it just sort of came as a surprise, in a way. I knew this wasn't going to be a huge story, but going from OWLS OWLS OWLS OWLS JOKER JOKER JOKER JOKER to a cool little story about Clayface is kind of a culture shock in a way. I've come to expect something certain from this title, and while I enjoyed the break from it, that contradicting side of me was just sort of put off in a very slight way. If anything, I would have enjoyed the back up to be related to the main story like normal, but even then, I still liked the story! I don't know... does it make sense? Not really, but that's just my thoughts!

The Bottom Line:

This issue was just kind of weird, you know? It was a fun, to the point Clayface story, but it was also just that. This is the book that drives shit, the other follows, so it going small scale on us is a jarring change of pace for me. But again, that doesn't mean this wasn't fun, it was just different, and we also got some great Batman Superman interactions too. So, yeah! Hopefully people are like me, and can appreciate the issue for what it is, and not overreact to us not getting another huge story, or whatever.



  1. so basically both Gordon and Clayface know Batman's identity. I mean i know Gordon might have known, but thats confirmation.
    I love Snyders stories in batman, I just hate how it seems everyone is easily discovering his identity.
    the talons
    lincoln march (thomas wayne jr)
    now we know for a fact that the joker does know

    1. Gordon was just shot, run over and confused as all hell. We don't know what Clayface's plan to destroy Batman is. And nothing was confirmed with Joker, he just said he knew, but never said Bruce Wayne or anything, and he's a guy who lies A LOT.

  2. I mean, come on, Joker knew. All the shit that goes down in Death of the Family (capturing Barbara's mom, Tim and Jason's dads, all the stuff with the amusement mile, ALFRED) cannot possibly be coincidence. Plus, y'know, Bruce literally walks into Joker's cell unmasked and willingly reveals his identity. Joker knows. He's always known.

    Clayface, on the other hand? What the hell?