Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo
At the end of it all, the only question that really matters is “Can I be Robin?”
Following the events of last issue, Batman (along with the severed Joker head in a jar) leaves the new Amazonians and sets out to discover what the dystopian, Mad Max-esque world he woke up in. As the Joker narrates however, “this case is different…darker, they can both feel it” and while the World’s Greatest Detective is determined to find out who is responsible and do anything necessary to fix it, he soon finds out that sometimes there are mysteries that are best left unsolved.
This issue does an incredible job of world building, using the same dystopian tropes that so many post apocalyptic stories have used but throwing in a bit of DC Universe flavor. Snyder gives just enough backstory of how different areas got to be the way they are now that it made me want more even to the point of kinda wanting some kind of “World of Flashpoint” type mini series run showing the world from different heroes’ perspectives and their stories of how they ended up where and how they are. Perhaps the most important and interesting of these quick backstories is involving Superman and is told by someone you would both least and most expect to be telling the story. The way this is played out it also works to create a juxtaposition to what we are seeing with Joker and Batman.
The issue also gives a look inside the fragile state of Batman’s mind, the fear and guilt his life has left him with, the doubt about whether he can ever truly win and do what is right and still no one else has acknowledged this talking Joker head leaving me to question if it is really there or if it is a further sign of the decaying mental state of Batman. There is a sequence in the book where this severed Joker head continuously asks to be the next Robin and the way it is written is both important to further feeding into Batman’s mental state and played for laughs and is one of my favorite pages this year.
We are also introduced to a new villain known only as Omega, whom is responsible for certain things in the world and is essentially the closest thing to a ruler that the world has. While very little is shown or said about him the little bit that is creates a truly intriguing guessing game and is already leading to great discussion amongst some of us here at the Comic book Legion.
If there is anything negative to say about this book it would be that there are moments that seem a bit rushed that I would have liked to see more in-depth looks and other moments that felt a bit too drawn out for my liking. Overall, the art in the issue was as great as always with Capullo, and the story was intriguing making it a book I’d say is absolutely worth moving to the top of your read pile, especially in a relatively weaker release week and left me anxiously awaiting the conclusion of this story and Snyder and Capullo’s time together on Batman.