You will see this again come my week in review post, but I just had to give this book a solo spotlight.
Detective Comics #872 – Writer Scott Snyder, Art Jock on Batman story, Francesco Francavilla on Commissioner Gordon story.
What I Liked – I want to just say everything and leave it at that. In two issues Scott has made this my favorite Batman book. It is so good that I’m now buying two issues as I send books to both of my daughters and neither of them should miss this series. Scott has hit the ground running and the work, time and effort that he puts into his scripts is amazing. What is great is that he delivers and the book reads flawlessly.
The overall concept of the Dick Grayson Batman going after a secret society called “The Black Mirror” is outstanding. The group is given more weight this issue as we find out that the group is long standing, sells items involved in super villain crimes and the group believes that evil is what makes man better then the animals. The group feels perverse and evil as it has all the creepiness of a secret society whose members are often pillars of the community.
We get to see a Batman who is confident, smart, brave, humorous and yet still new enough to be caught unawares at times. In addition Scott continues to build how Dick works and creates cool scenes from even those sequences. The scene where Dick dives out of Oracle’s tower was brilliant. It typifies how Grayson is physically the most confident of all the Bat family and the art by Jock just blows the coolness factor off the charts. We are also seeing Dick actually do Detective work and piecing to together what is happening. At the same time we see Dick’s relationships with Tim, Alfred, Barbara and the police.
The story is also set in time that corresponds to the backup Jim Gordon story. Not that it appears important at this point that the timelines are in synch but it is a wonderful touch that makes the stories feel like one world. Even the Jim Gordon story is a thing of beauty as his son, who is the complete opposite of him, is coming back into his life and the danger that it brings. Jock and Francavilla both know how to draw and make each segment have the noir atmosphere which is perfect for these stories.
Another thing and this is something I constantly notice in Scott’s work, nothing is wasted. Each panel, each page adds to the story. Scott is already a master at when to add dialogue or thought boxes and when to shut up and let the art tell the story. Not only is that true, but the rhythm of the story telling is well developed. We open with a one page splash, two page action sequence and that a half page splash as Dick visits Babs for information. We then get two pages of exposition that drives the plot forward and builds characterization followed by the wordless dive from the tower. Scott knows when to call for the one page splash and when we need a five or six panel page. One great example is when a disguised Batman is going down hallways and then he enters the auction room. We go from a many paneled page to a one panel page of the auction room. The room is filled with people in a massive hallway that makes you immediately understand the magnitude of the Black Mirror Society. This is what I mean about the rhythm of the book being spot on. Beat by beat, panel by panel with artists that deliver a performance to match the music of the script.
Finally I appreciated that Scott is providing this type of effort. Remember this is a middle chapter of a story. So many writers allow the middle chapter to just further the plot and maybe have some action. This is a middle chapter every bit as exciting and interesting as the first part of the story. Also the story is rich in the complexity and what it lays out but no so obtuse as to be indecipherable. Scott is DC’s fastest rising star and maybe the “star” in 2011 and beyond for DC. I’d sign him up for a long term contract now.
And oh by the way, what a great frelling cover.
What I Didn’t Like – Is the next issue is a month away.