Batman #51 Review
Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Greg Capullo
Inks: Danny Miki
Colours: FCO Plascencia
Letters: Steve Wands
Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman #51 is a beautiful and almost poetic book in its storytelling. Marking the final issue of the Super Star team that is Snyder and Capullo or as I like to call them Snapullo. Yes, I totally ship it. I'm going to seriously miss the two. Everything they created and re-imagined together was beautifully crafted and I'm seriously sad to see them go, because they told amazing stories without trying to change the status quo into something that’d turn out to be a chaotic mess. That’s why this run has been so successful besides it actually being overwhelmingly amazing. And yes I know I called it amazing twice, I don’t give a flying…
See what Snyder did wasn’t create a brand new Batman, instead he told a story from the perspective of a more approachable and compassionate Batman, resembling Paul Dini’s and Bruce Timm’s Dark Knight. And you know what? I don’t know if this is going to be a review or an essay but if you want my opinions bear with me, because everything I’m about to say is also pretty relevant to the issue itself.
A fair bit of people think they understand Batman more than Scott Snyder or any other person who writes the character. They think he's just a brutal, brooding shell of a man on the edge of insanity, who polices Gotham at night in the name of Justice. Truth is that's one of the most narrow-minded views of what the Batman is. Yes he upholds the foundations of Justice. Yes, he’s the protector of Gotham. Yes, he’s the man that strikes fear into the hearts of criminals, and yes, he is the legendary albeit emotionally flawed Dark Knight throughout. But he’s also so much more.
Growing up with the character, I found him to be a lot more empathetic than that. Batman to me is a tale of self-sacrifice and the selflessness of one man to prevent people, just like you and I, falling into pits of despair and insanity. In other words to prevent what had happened to people like him and the joker, happening to anyone else. I’ve said this before but he’s a symbol of hope. Not in the same way Superman is… but in his own unique way Batman is just as much of a hero as any other super powered demigod. In fact we’ve seen this side portrayed in the Nolan trilogy, the animated series and through a few other titles by various writers. My point is Snyder has perfected the art of making Bruce likeable and heroic.
Anyways back to issue #51. It’s a bit comforting, knowing the story ends with a bit of symmetry to the beginning of the series, allowing us to ease into future stories while allowing me peace of mind. For all intents and purposes this a actually the perfect ending even though not much happens in this issue, but it’s much more of a goodbye to the creative team’s fans than anything else, in fact I think it’s safe to say that this might be the quietest night in Bruce’s life. It’s also very poetic in the fact that as an ending it rhymes with the very first issue in the run through the motif that is the “Gotham is” column within the pages of the Gotham Gazette, continuing the traditions of exploring the various views of what Gotham is all about and the symbolism of the Bat himself. As well as that it’s got a few small but touching revelations about how the Batman has effected people around and him and some well-earned comedic moments to wipe the tears away. Due to this, Snyder does an outstanding job with tying up loose ends in Batman’s Journey, giving us confirmation that our hero really is making a difference. Of course however, this doesn’t mean the schemes have ended as Snyder builds the foundations for future writers.
Now I can’t end this without praising Capullo. He’s by far one of the best artists in the industry and that’s no small feat. He’s been consistently blowing my mind ever since the beginning and he continues to do so. This issue is no exception; he utilizes every tool in the shed and combines storytelling with symbolism and imbues it with the dynamic nature of his style. It’s a lot more subtle this time around in a lot of moments, which eases the tension created from their hectic adventure. Just the little things he does with his art to accompany the story leaves me with a smile on my face. The events in this book are just so sweet, and he conveys it so well.
With all that, I can say without a single doubt in my mind that the swansong of Snapullo aka Batman #51 is a must read, a must BUY beauty of comic if you’re already a fan of the series.
I love you Snapullo.