Issue #8 of Batman was really good. I debated giving it the full five stars, but I am stingy lately and am only going to give it four. This issue was written and drawn by the continuing team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Capullo’s artwork has not been wow-ing me, but it’s been good. The writing, though, is probably the element that is getting this volume of Batman all of the praise and credit. Some issues have been great, some have been just good. I think Snyder has some good ideas and is trying to make the main character a little different than the “regular” Batman. Snyder is trying to “extend” the boundaries of what’s been done with the character – which is no easy thing since Batman has been written by so many writers through the years.
The cover is good for a few reasons, I think. The main reason is that it actually is relevant to the inside story. I really don’t like issues that have covers that look pretty but are completely unrelated to the issue’s story. It’s deceptive and misleading when issues have covers that do that. But this cover comes directly out of the storyline. Another reason that it is good is that it maintains that creepy castle-like tone that is running through the “Owl” storyarc that Snyder has been writing. Just the words “night” and “bat” and “owl” demand the artwork is creepy and eerie. And this definitely is; however I look at the background and it looks like poorly blended digital artwork or a badly made oil painting. What are these color marks especially on the left side of the cover? I dislike it. It looks half-done or lazy. Is it Capullo or the colorist?
The title of this issue is “Attack on Wayne Manor” and that’s basically what this story is about. If you have not read this issue – this review will contain spoilers. Anyway, the issue begins with Bruce Wayne brooding in his manor at night. I’ll be honest, I have always known Bruce Wayne to be a brooding individual – it’s part of his charm, let’s say. However I did feel that in this issue Snyder moved a little too close to the line of whining as opposed to brooding. On the third page, I absolutely hate the frame wherein Alfred lights the model city up and Bruce Wayne looks like a teenager who is getting picked on. I know that recently he underwent a lot of physical trauma, but somehow that image/reaction of Wayne annoyed me. Is it Capullo’s art again? Or does it just make Wayne seem skittish and melodramatic? I hate that frame.
This issue is basically a home-invasion issue. The assassins, Talons, invade Wayne Manor – and only Alfred and Bruce are there to do anything about it. They scurry in opposite directions – although, at the end of the issue, I have to say I don’t know why Bruce bothered to go to the roof. Anyway, they meet up in the Bat Cave in the Armor Room. Something like a castle panic room.
So, why did Bruce run to the roof in the first place? And also, how did this many assassins invade Wayne Manor so easily. I guess it’s hard to move completely into the “New DC 52” where this is a new Bruce and a new Wayne Manor. I am used to Wayne Manor being an impenetrable fortress, really. Sure, the talons are good at what they do, but come on – it’s that easy to invade BATMAN’s home? Tough pill to swallow as a reader, I suppose.
When Bruce leaves the armor room in big badass armor and says: “Get the hell out of my house!” …. it kind of makes up for the opening of the issue where Bruce was “lost in his own head.” Also, the plan that Batman and Alfred came up with – dropping the temperature – seems like a good idea and I am excited to see what happens in the next part of the story. Throughout, this is a fairly intense issue, lots of action and creepiness to turn the pages quickly. I liked the issue a lot, but I cannot ignore the questions/problems that I mentioned above. I have high hopes for this storyarc, though, and think that Snyder is working hard on these issues.