Friday, April 12, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Batman #19

This month was supposedly a "WTF Month" at DC Comics until they realized that that sort of tag is stupid. Nonetheless, this issue was still in place and the cover of Batman #19 shows Bruce Wayne trying to shoot down Jim Gordon.

This is the first leg of a two-parter that Scott Snyder is using to kill time until this June's "Zero Year" begins. And we actually have a true detective story on hand.

The storytelling isn't linear, as we start with Bruce Wayne (in a Batsuit under his shirt) robbing a bank and threatening the commissioner with a gun. Immediately after he leaves, we cut to six days before, as Bruce is reminiscing and just being generally depressing.

The detective work here is always welcome in my Bat-books, even if the solution is obvious. I don't feel I'm spoiling anything to let you know this is a Clayface arc.

I'm not sure I like that the clay that makes up Basil Karlo is magic and not scientifically created, but I guess it really makes no difference other than the fact that chemical compounds to fight him will be harder to concoct.

It's an interesting development that Snyder has created regarding Basil's destabilizing DNA. It makes him more dangerous while simultaneously cutting off the more sympathetic storylines B:TAS proved can be done with Clayface.

Overall, the main story is solid, but not up to Snyder's more epic work. That may just be that I'm not a huge Clayface guy, but in any event, this book is still one of the best DC is producing.

The back-up is a respectable Batman/Superman crossover that preys on Superman's vulnerability to the supernatural and the emotional state of Batman following Grant Morrison's Robin-cide.

That said, I'm not a huge fan of the story and it feels like something was missing. I like James Tynion IV's writing, but I think it's clear he's up-and-coming, not here-and-on-top-of-his-game with this story. He does nice work, but it's good this isn't the Batman/Superman book because this wouldn't hold my attention for the price of admission.

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