Thursday, July 11, 2013

Snyder (Comic Book) Reviews: Batman #22 and Superman Unchained #2

Lucky you all! You actually get text reviews again!

Scott Snyder has been absolutely killing it with his work in his Batman and Superman titles, and this week gave us all the pleasure of seeing both released (along with a lot of other really good titles). My reviews of Nightwing and the Justice League won't be out until next blog, so for the time being, let's talk these two Snyder books.

Alternate cover, but the best quality I
could find.
Batman #22

I know a lot of mixed emotions came up when Snyder revealed he was doing a New 52 Batman origin story that lasted a year, but you know what? It's working really well.

It was a good idea to have Bruce attempt to stay dead to hte world as he fights what is clearly a losing battle with the Red Hood Gang. Also a good idea is making the Red Hood Gang something more than what it's been in recent books. I love The Killing Joke, but ifBarbara Gordon's paralysis is going to be strictly backstory that is now outdated, then I would like to hope that not every element from the story remains canon.

It's been a nice change of pace to see a Red Hood leading the push for chaos and mayhem long before he actually goes into the vat of chemicals, and if the similarity in language isn't already a flag as to who it is going to be, I really can't help you.

There was plenty to like about Bruce and Alfred's exchanges. I will admit that I'd prefer the Alfred slapping Bruce thing was kept to the Earth One universe but it's use in this situation is well worth the price of admission. The dialogue called back a little to "Batman Begins," as Bruce clearly is not in a mindset to be Bruce Wayne as well as a vigilante.

As such, the company trying to thrust him back into the spotlight makes for a really funny-yet-compelling moment. The following scene with Edward Nygma also creates intrigue about what his greater motivations are.

The backup story is another Bruce Wayne training scene where he is learning to think outside of what he's seen and create original innovations of his own volition. It's an excellent display of how Batman becomes the master of prep time (at least in Grant Morrison's interpretations).

Overall, I highly recommend getting this issue and the previous one, as we're now getting into the meat of this story.

Superman Unchained #2

Snyder's Superman story seems to be working in ways other writers' works have not simply because he takes the time for Superman to be introspective and be good at both his Clark Kent and Superman personas.

The initial scene where he's preventing a building from snapping and collapsing is a good display of Superman trying to sort out what powers are necessary in a given situation. Just listening to his internal monologue in which he runs through the options and the results of each action gives the character a greater sense of competence while adding drama to the story.

Meanwhile, his showdown with the U.S. military is building into something serious, and it may actually be a decent showdown from the looks of it.

My biggest complaint is that so much is being crammed into this issue. Besides these points, there's the guy who washed up on the boat in Issue #1's backup summoning Lois, Lex Luthor escaping from prison and a really, really good epilogue in which Batman talks about how he keeps an arsenal of anti-Superman weaponry because he knows that, on some level, Clark wants him to be there in case he ever goes rogue.

While nothing is bad, a lot of it needs more time to develop, but this is a longer arc so I'm sure it'll pay off soon.

Jim Lee, like Greg Capullo in the Batman issue, is a perfect artist for this story, really getting the emotions of each character and the grandiose nature of the scenery down pat. Clark and Bruce look ridiculously similar, but otherwise, good stuff.

Snyder is probably producing the two most must-read titles DC is currently offering in print, and both should be followed. Next week is the first collection of what I hear is DC's best online-exclusive title, Batman '66, so look forward to that next week.

Until then, BUY THESE!

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