Comics Review – Batman #19

First Thoughts on Batman #19

The comic has shock cover art, which you can see below. Bruce Wayne vowed never to use guns after his parents murder. It’s a good hook.

For a comic that has good references to chemistry, and good science fiction, I was surprised to read the phrase “Mystical Clay” in this issue.

It’s not a spoiler to mention the Batman villain Clayface makes a monstrous appearance. Who is Clayface? A man named Basil Karlo was a failed actor – the “Mystical Clay” gave him super-human powers. He can  shape shift into people and objects. The catch: he’s not human, and now is a golem-like lump of clay with giant, jagged teeth.

Mourning for Batman’s son continues. There are several references to death in the story and art. Funerals and Smoke for example.

The comic is another great segment to the new Batman story by Scott Snyder.

The art of Batman #19

Bright colours in a gothic Batman comic are at odds, and look terrible if badly handled. They work well when FCO Plascencia and Greg Capullo capture daylight scenes, and the brighter days from Bruce Wayne’s memories, however.

There’s a new villain named The Reaper who attacks Batman and Robin in a flashback. He sports a sleek, metal, Terminator skull mask on black cloth with a pair of scythe gadgets that conceal a pair of guns.

The design seems deliberately overdrawn, like a comic character from an earlier decade. The effect is that this sequence feels as though it took place back in time.

The Reaper has a van filled with poisoned flowers. Batman and Robin foil his plan to deliver the flowers to the funeral of a rival crime family. As they walk away from the upturned van, they pass through a veil of white smoke. A close up on Damian Wayne presents a panel filled with that smoke.

This use of white smoke gives a sense that Damian is fading away. It’s a good method to tell the story of the lost son with art.

Earlier in the comic, smoke is used again – and again the smoke represents a sense of loss. This is a *spoiler* though. You can highlight the sentences below if you want to read it but be warned:

  • Commissioner Gordon tries to stop Bruce Wayne from robbing a Gotham Bank. Bruce fires a gun, which is a problem as I mentioned at the start of the review, but even worse for Gordon who sees a man and a hero he admires turning to crime. He has lost his confidence in Gotham city’s greatest philanthropist 

A bit more on Batman #19

This issue is a great story about deception, which is works for a super hero detective, and for the mystery genre.

Batman’s mourning continues to dominate – of course Bruce will continue to carry the loss. It’s a part of the Batman myth now. Bruce Wayne refuses to attend a funeral for a colleague formerly employed at Wayne Enterprises, Brian Wade, for obvious reasons. This makes a total of two references to funerals in the comic.

The writing and art continue to make this a great example of super-hero comics.

Batman #19 is published by DC comics


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