“Batman” #23 Review

Batman #23

Written By: Scott Snyder
Art By: Greg Capullo

In Batman #23, the main characters start becoming the recognizable identities that they are today.  Snyder and Capullo sell not only the iconography of the characters, but their emotional core and purpose in the Batman mythos.

After learning what the characters were like before the Batman comics we know today, Snyder manages to ground every major character with a character moment. Red Hood encapsulates the disorder and chaos of Gotham, and expresses that chaos as Gotham’s “truth.” After last month’s slap-moment, Alfred tells Bruce that he will always be there to “patch him up.” And staggering for survival, Bruce humbly accepts his promise to his parents, and symbolizes that in the form of the Bat.

While each moments feels true to those characters, Edward Nygma (or the Riddler) doesn’t have the same recognizable qualities as he does today. That doesn’t mean Snyder has the character wrong, he’s just taking his time to establish the character as a menace, rather than diving the character into Batman Forever-level absurdity.

Creating a disorienting opening, Capullo draws Batman’s beating from the Red Hood Gang in a suitably broken fashion.

As for the biggest moment of the issue, with the homage to Miller and Mazzuchelli’s Year One, Capullo captures the scene wisely from a different perspective. The full page of Bruce standing before the window of streaming bats arouses chills, but as the scene continues, it feels like the tribute to the classic story has gone on too long.

Batman #23 is an exceptional primer for anyone wanting to know how Batman’s relationships are defined in comics. While it is derivative of what has come before, it does so on purpose, to reinstate the significance of each facet of the Batman mythos.

Score: 8.9/10