Friday 6 September 2013

Batman #20 Review

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo

I'm a huge Batman fan, and have been extremely happy with how the series has been handled under the wing of Scott Snyder, these last couple of years, and although it's not always been perfect, it's always been unique, and interesting, and I can't wait to see what he has in store with Zero Year.


After being attacked by Clayface, Bruce, and Lucius Fox have to escape death, and Batman has to find a way of defeating this new and improved Clayface.

Ghost Lights Part 2

Batman, and Superman continue their battle against Will o' the Wisp, with Superman's life in the balance.


This was yet another brilliant issue, and the perfect conclusion to the two part filler between Death of the Family, and Zero Year. As I said in my introduction, Scott Snyder has been doing a phenomenal job on this series, and he continues to show why in this explosive issue. What I've liked about this two part story is that it's not meant to be epic, and is genuinely meant to be the perfect story to ease new readers who are considering getting the Zero Year storyline into the series. I've also loved during this story that Snyder has taken a step back with Batman, having Bruce be in the spotlight for more of the story, which was nice, as although I love seeing epic Batman action, it's nice to see Bruce get involved in business once in a while. The dialogue that Snyder wrote throughout this issue was also brilliant, and I loved the interaction between Clayface, and anyone that was in his way, whether Bruce, Batman, Lucius, or the Gotham City Police Department, as he just stamped his authority. In following that Snyder has also done a fantastic job of giving us a great Clayface story, as when I first noticed it was Clayface as the villain I wasn't sure what to think, as he's already recently appeared in Detective Comics recently, and will be making an appearance in Batman: The Dark Knight from issue 22, but I was glad that he appeared in this series, as it was a brilliant story.

Once again Greg Capullo did an amazing job of the artwork on this issue, and he really suits this series. To be honest if you told me two years ago that I'd land up loving Capullo's art I'd have laughed, as although I didn't mind his art on the opening issues of this series, I wasn't really a fan. I have however since started to love his art, especially during the Death of the Family crossover, and his style really suits the Bat, with the right tone's, and moods. Anyway, in this issue the detail in Capullo's art was outstandingly perfect, as usual, with everything whether close-ups of character's, big action sequences, or things in the background looked just right. The thing I probably loved the most about Capullo's art in this issue had to be the way he drew Clayface, as although Jason Fabok did an amazing job of drawing him in Detective Comics, Capullo's was much more like the Clayface that I enjoyed reading when I was younger, or seeing on the 90's Batman Animated series. The layout of Capullo's art was also excellent, and as usual he add's a lot more drama to the story, as everything is laid out with such precision. The way Capullo handled the action in this issue was also outstanding, and as usual he made sequences that most artists would make look good, look phenomenal.

To be honest when it was revealed last issue that the villain impersonating Bruce Wayne was none other than Clayface, I was shocked. Yeah I know, when you think about it he is the obvious candidate, and me being a huge Batman fan I should have really spotted it earlier, but I didn't, and it was a real surprise. Anyway, as I said a little earlier, I really loved Clayface being in this story, as although he made a decent appearance in a recent story in Detective Comics, it was nowhere near as good as this mini story. I think the thing that made this story better was that it was a superior Clayface, with upgrades, and a true motive, whereas in Detective Comics, he was normal, and was being manipulated by Poison Ivy, which although interesting, didn't do much for him as a character. I also loved the determination in Clayface during this issue, as he didn't seem like the second rate villain that he usually is, which was nice, as he is a good villain.

We also got to see Bruce, and Lucius interact more than usual in this issue, as with them both being trapped in the same crusher, they both have to work together to survive. Now the interaction in this sequence was actually very short lived, as they were too busy trying to find a way out of the death trap that they were in, but the conversation they had was very natural, and interesting, and you could see the respect that both character's had for each other, with Lucius being respectful cause Bruce is his boss, and Bruce being respectful for all the great things that Lucius has done for him as Batman (even though Lucius doesn't know he's Batman).

The was however one other thing in that sequence that caught my eye, and that was the Batman Beyond style Batsuit. Being a big fan of the Batman Beyond Animated series I loved that it made a brief appearance in this issue. I also loved how Lucius said that it wouldn't be cost effective for another 20 years, coincidently when Terry McGinnis, the Batman from Batman Beyond is from. I also loved that despite obviously being the Batman Beyond suit that it was still unique, and slightly different. I do however look forward to seeing if we'll see this suit again at some point during the future.

Now the Batman Beyond suit wasn't the only new suit to feature in this issue, as Batman would also sport a suit to tackle Clayface with. Now if I'm being honest I didn't really like this other suit, as although it was interesting seeing another suit, and one that's designed to counteract Clayface's new powers (which was done quickly), it just didn't look like a Batman suit, and more like a hazmat suit. Anyway, I didn't really like this suit, but do give both Snyder, and Capullo credit for creating something different, and unique.

The back-up story in this issue was the second, and final part of the Ghost Lights back-up story that has featured in this issue over the last couple of issues. I've really been enjoying James Tynion IV's work on these back-up stories, but this one didn't really appeal to me. There were things about the story in this issue, as well as last that appealed to me, but in general it was nothing special, and easily forgettable. One of the things in this part that I did like though was when Batman was talking to the girl who helped conjure Will o' the Wisp, trying to get her to help him, help Superman, which was very interesting, and showed that Batman did care for others, something that Mr. Dark and Brooding doesn't always show. The art from Alex Maleev was once again brilliant, and really suited this story, and although I still don't like the way he draws Superman, he doesn't have do a good job of drawing Batman, making him the dark, and frightful character he is, and although I may not be reading it myself, I'm sure he will do a great job when he takes over art duties on Batman: The Dark Knight.

Final Verdict

This was an excellent issue, and a great conclusion, to what was a terrific two part story. This issue was full of action, and excitement, as Snyder once again makes Clayface a force to be reckoned with. As well as being exciting, this issue also had another brilliant reference, and the dialogue throughout the issue was outstanding. Cause of all this I would highly recommend this issue, as well as the previous issue, and as much of the series as you can get, as it truly is one of the best DC series out the now, and with Zero Year just round the corner, it's the best time to jump aboard.

Rating: 4/5

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