SYNOPSIS: It’s the origin of new villain Mr. Bloom! In a tale from Bruce Wayne’s past, Batman must investigate a vicious crime in the shadowy area of Gotham City known as the Narrows. Don’t miss this special issue illustrated by superstar artist Jock.
I'll never forget how disappointed I felt when I found out that writer
Scott Snyder's first Batman story, “The Black Mirror,” would feature
Dick Grayson rather than Bruce Wayne as Batman. I'd been impressed by
Snyder's enthusiasm and intellect in interviews, and I'd grown weary
from too many "Bruce Wayne's missing or presumed dead, so someone else
is Batman" stories.
The latest of which, by the way, is being told by Snyder himself. But
with issue #44, we're taking a break from Mecha-Gordon-Zilla-Batman to
go back in time to the origin of Mr. Bloom. Or at least that's how the
issue's being advertised. It's actually no such thing, with Mr. Bloom
appearing only briefly. It's the kind of faulty hawking I'll gladly
take in a heartbeat, because this issue is all about Bruce Wayne's
Regardless of my initial caution, I'd fallen madly in love with THE
“The Black Mirror” by the end of its first page, largely due to the perfect
union between Snyder's words and artist Jock's raw, urgent lines. And
though I enjoyed their tale of Dick Grayson as The Caped Crusader, I
longed for a day when these two would unite for a Bruce Wayne/Batman
That day is here, with Jock stepping in this month for regular artist
Greg Capullo to join Snyder and guest co-writer Brian Azzarello for a
tale taking place in the months after Zero Year, in a time where Bruce
Wayne doesn't know his city nearly as well as he someday will. The
place is The Narrows, where a young boy's bullet-ridden body is found
in the middle of a field after it literally fell from the sky. How did
he get there? And who dropped the boy, both figuratively and
BATMAN #44 Cover by Jock
Those answers, and many more, unravel over the course of a story that
would have been right at home during the classic '70s era of Batman
detective stories. This one's got it all, from super-heroics to
science fiction to a throbbing social conscience reflecting many of
Every page – including the eight extra ones that knock the price up a
dollar over a standard issue – is narratively and artistically dense.
Bruce learns something about being Batman and something about being
Bruce Wayne; the only panel in the entire issue that gave me pause has
a beautiful payoff by issue's end, and it literally made me put the
issue down and clap.
Jock's art fit the story's tone perfectly. It's almost odd seeing a
normally proportioned Gordon after getting used to the lean, muscular
Marine Capullo's pencil's have chiseled him into lately, and Batman
uses the cape in a thrilling way you've never seen in a big action
scene. There's a lot to see and feel here, with Lee Loughridge's muted
colors and rusty shadows adding much to the atmosphere.
If you've been sitting out SUPERHEAVY because Bruce Wayne isn't Batman
yet again, make sure you grab #44 this month. It's an instant classic that’s
sure to find its place in a future compilation of the greatest
Batman stories ever told. - John Bierly
John Bierly still can't believe he gets to write for BOF.
Check out JOHNBIERLY.COM to read about the other things he writes about.