After weeks of mediocre storytelling, Scott Snyder and Brian Azzarello deliver a book that is a reminder of just how fantastic Batman can be. If anything, this issue highlights precisely what has been off about this title for a while now. Starting with Zero Year, with a break during Endgame, this title has been one tremendously long origin story. With Zero Year we got a full year’s worth of Bruce Wayne’s Batman origin and now we’ve transitioned into Gordon’s Batman origin. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been amazing. Origins after origins get remarkably tedious after a while, especially considering the comic book movie industry continues to shove origins down our throats. This issue, on the other hand, does a fantastic job of telling a Batman story, because instead of needing everything to focus on Batman, he can instead be integrated into the story more naturally.
While this issue is relevant to the current arc, and actually helps set up the situation at hand, in most ways it completely overshadows the new status quo. The story follows the case of the mysterious death of a young boy and a young Batman’s need to solve the case quickly. It is handled so well and so tactfully, that this standalone issue is easily one of the best in the entire 44 issue run. Gordon in the Batsuit will never live up to Bruce Wayne in the suit and this issue is a glaring representation of why that is the case. Jock, with Lee Loughridge, absolutely knocks it out of the park on this issue. As good as Greg Capullo is at what he does, Jock’s art took this issue to a different level. This issue was reminiscent of the amazing run Jock and Snyder had in Detective Comics and was a great break from the Gordon/Batman fiasco. 5/5
Batman is nothing without his supporting cast, his Bat Family. Without them, he would have gone mad years ago. Not only are they what ground him, they’re also what keep him from teetering too far over the edge. Essentially, they keep him from becoming what he fights against. Obviously Gordon doesn’t have that same flaw, however at the same time, it’s ridiculous that Gordon continues to randomly attack every single friend of the real Batman that he comes across. In Red Hood and Arsenal’s case, he may have a semi valid reason, considering the two are outlaws for hire. However, it’s a tad nonsensical for Gordon specifically to be going after them, considering how often the two of them have helped him and Gotham in general. Considering it’s only 4 issues in, the series has been decently entertaining. Roy and Jason’s witty banter is probably the highlight of the series, but otherwise the series could probably do with a tad bit more focus. Currently, it’s nowhere near the same quality as Midnighter or Grayson. 3.5/5
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