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Batman-51-CoverBatman #51

“Gotham Is”

Written by Scott Snyder

Line Art by Greg Capullo

Inks by Danny Miki

Colors by FCO Plascencia

“Gotham is sitting with your back to the wall. Your hand on your gun. Waiting for doors to the swing open…”

 

 

I don’t know how to start this review.

When I began Talking Comics is 2011 it was because of the New 52. The plan was to take all 52 titles and split them between the four original members.  When Brad, Brian, Steve and myself divided the books between ourselves, I made sure I took Batman. I didn’t know what I was in for.  I had no clue who Scott Snyder was and even less of an idea who Greg Capullo was. I shouldn’t have been reviewing comic books at all back then, but I took my best stab at it.

“From an opening confrontation in Arkham Asylum to a reunion of past Bat-sidekicks, writer Scott Snyder plays wonderfully on our expectations of what Batman #1 should be. He also showcases the Dark Knight’s detective skills here by introducing a new and major murder mystery that I’m dying to see the resolution to. Not to be ignored is Grep Capullo’s dark but diverse art that is spot on for depicting the caped crusader. All and all this book is a must-buy for Batman fans, comic fans, and fans of good story in general.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Do you know who Batman is? Yes. Okay, read on.

VERDICT
Buy it.”

Looking back at that review now, I can see how excited I was then. Batman #1 was in many ways the first comic book I ever really loved. It began me on the path I’m on now. Mr. Snyder also guested the Talking Comics Podcast when barely anyone listened, and is responsible in a lot of ways for the successes we now have. So, you can see that for me this isn’t any “ordinary”comic book release. I tell you this so you know where I’m coming from. The truth is though that none of that matters. Batman #51 is a triumph. The perfect end to one of the greatest takes in the history of the Dark Knight.

This final issue is not about how hard Batman can punch, but his impact on the city he stewards. This is about friendship, about home and about the quiet moments that make a hero a hero. When I love something in a book, I’ve taken to snapping a screen cap on my iPad. I have a dozen from my first reading of Batman #51. (I won’t share them with you because you should get to experience them too). The issue itself is a wonderful play on the very first book in Snyder and Capullo’s run. It takes dialogue, beats and even some panels right from Batman #1. It’s a great way to bring this entire story full circle.

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Snyder and Capullo are working there magic here, but in a subtle and even playful way. Almost every scene in the issue ends with a good-natured rib or a site gag. They are charming, endearing moments that embrace the absurdity of the character and radiate a love for Gotham. A bittersweet and wistful goodbye to Alfred and a silhouetted rooftop meeting with Jim Gordan are some of the biggest moments in the book. However, it was a conversation between the caped crusader and a criminal that spoke the most loudly to me. Then there is the the last page of Batman #51. It manages to sum up everything that Snyder and Capullo’s run has been. It’s is also the perfect encapsulation of what Batman is. It’s not flashy and there are no fisticuffs, but it ends this incomparable run faultlessly.

We’ve had five amazing years filled with twists, turns, deaths and triumphs, but now Bruce Wayne is back as Batman, Jim Gordon is mustached and smoking on a roof and the inmates of Arkham Asylum are restless in their cells once again.  The toys are back in the toy box and what happens in Gotham now is up to those who follow Snyder and Capullo.  How do you follow such a legendary run?  For that matter, how do you sum up said run in just a single review?

You can’t.

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I’m not going to render a traditional verdict on this review. Read this, read the past 50 issues and read them again.  Sit back and enjoy the fact you just experienced one of the best batches of comic book storytelling you’ll ever read.  There have been many great takes on the Caped Crusader, but none have been as important to me as this one. So, I only have one thing to say to the people who brought us Batman over these past years.

Thank You.

Gotham…is you. Always.”

 

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