Readers of Scott Snyder’s run on Batman are no strangers to quality. Each story arc has been nothing short of iconic and the latest one, titled ‘Superheavy’, has been no exception. That’s why it is no shock to see how superbly this latest issues builds on from the previous one which ended on a double-cliffhanger. That’s twice the cliffs, people!
The first of these reader retaining endings saw this arc’s big bad, Mr. Bloom, reemerge and attack Jim Gordon in his ostentatious new Bat-Bus. They pick up right where they left off with this one as Bloom takes ahold of Bat-Gordon and proceeds to grow to the size of a skyscraper. The interesting thing about this villain is that it’s not entirely clear just what he is and that sense of uncertainty has worked in the favour of this book as it has proven rather easy to turn him into a menacing and highly memorable threat.
Whilst some of his backstory is given away through use of the old favourite, the bad guy monologue, he still retains a great deal of that mystery and fans will undoubtedly still be eager to know his full origins as he is one of the most destructive new villains to be introduced in years.
His aim this time out seems to be to lay waste to Gotham, which is hardly a groundbreaking plan (although he actually does break some ground). But he also follows in the footsteps of other iconic enemies of The Bat by turning the cities denizens against one another. He achieves this by offering them immense power and all they have to do to gain it is implant one of his seeds into their skin (yes that does sound mildly sexual). The catch is that there are only a limited number of said seeds and so the race is on to find them and become something more… planty.
The Bloom sections of this comic are as understatedly excellent as ever and it isn’t hard to imagine this particular rogue going down in history as a fan favourite of the modern era. He is chilling as he looms large over the city and the scale of his menace serves as a reminder of how rare it is for modern comics to actually craft sinister villains that are both cartoony and mildly terrifying all at the same time.
The other cliffhanger from last month was without question the more interesting of the two as fans saw a decidedly civilian looking Joker take a seat next to the foggy brained Bruce Wayne. This moment has had everyone clamouring for this new issue ever since it occurred and it is safe to say Snyder did not disappoint.
The tension in the air as the two mortal enemies sat discussing their new found lives was palpable. The question had to be niggling at every reader as to whether The Joker really was an amnesiac like Bruce or if he was simply playing a game as he so loves to do. It would appear, for the time being, that he is none the wiser about his sordid past as The Clown Prince of Crime although no one expects that to remain the case for too long.
What he serves to do here is edge Bruce away from returning to his former ways as the cape and cowl wearing vigilante. If anything this ups the tension of the moment as it seems rather self-serving for a man who Batman has pummeled many a time to urge him away from donning the tights once more. It casts further doubt over whether Joker is himself or not and that overwhelming sense of unknowing amongst readers is delicious.
The two story paths look set to intersect in an explosive finale as Bruce is forced to watch a child at his daycare transform hideously after ingesting one of Bloom’s seeds. Something that will force him back to his old crime fighting ways. Thankfully Greg Capullo cuts away before it gets too gruesome but the full effect is still felt.
Without ruining anything about the last page it must be mentioned that it is magnificent. Once you read this book, or if you already have done so, you will know exactly why this is true.
Snyder has once again shown the world why he is the best comic book writer alive right now. No one comes close to his story writing as he delivers heart wrenching moments, captivating action, and superior characters with every story he pens. It would have been so simple to bring Bruce back as Batman quickly after Endgame came out but to build up the anticipation in this way is sheer genius. Long may Snyder reign as the Batman writer.
Score: 5 out of 5.
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