“Something, something Joker doesn’t have a face, something something Batman is so Edgy and Dark, something, something it’ll be AWESOME!”
–Creative notes scrawled on a crumpled napkin by a DC exec during a coked-out party.
There aren’t a lot of titles that made it out of the New 52 unscathed. And rightfully so, it’s like DC was drinking their own Kool-Aid and actually thought that readers wanted grim-dark ad infinitum, as far as the eye could see.
Newsflash, we didn’t. And, to compound insult with injury, their reboot managed to erase a lot of legacy that readers actually appreciated. It flattened the DC universe and erased a lot of characters and nuance to characters that people really loved. AND, on top of all of that, by pivoting toward grim-dark in that flattened universe, DC actually managed to make a lot of their characters kind of stupid and disappointingly bland.
DC went hard for the aesthetic and turned their brand into the Hot Topic of comics. It was really pretty sad.
One of the few titles that retained at least some of its dignity was Batman. Scott Snyder understands Batman, both what makes him tick and what makes him such a compelling characters. So, while the New 52’s mediocratization can definitely be felt between the pages (comparing this to Black Mirror, the last Batman title I read, really brings that home), it’s still definitely worth the price of admission.
Of course, I could be biased. The Batfamily is my jam and this book is all about that family.
Or rather, it’s all about that family in absence. While ostensibly it’s another Batman vs. Joker Gotham Cage Fight, it’s actual message is that: 1) Batman does not protect his proteges or his mentor by pushing them away, and 2) They are his balance, his stabilization. Frankly, he needs them a whole lot more than they need him.
Batman collects people. Batman needs people. Batman needs family. And anyone who doesn’t get that doesn’t get Batman.
Thankfully, Scott Snyder gets Batman, even if the New 52 doesn’t, not really. So I’ll keep plugging away on this run because the good will’s already been one. And even though I wasn’t as blown away or as shocked by crazy, dead face Joker as DC probably wished I’d be, Batman is still Batman and he’s got his family to back him up.