Written By: Scott Snyder
Art By: Greg Capullo
If you are not caught up, In Batman #40, which was released last month, our hero appeared to have fallen along with Joker after a brutal battle below the depths of Gotham. Of course, there can never not be a Batman so the question on everyone’s mind, besides “Is Bruce really dead”, is “Who is going to be the next Batman?” We have seen Dick Grayson and Jason Todd dawn the cowl in the past, since they have worked directly under Batman they would appear to be most logical predecessors. On Free Comic Book day, back in April, DC Comic’s released the one-shot issue, Divergence, which confirmed the new Batman would be Commissioner Jim Gordon. The majority of fans, admittedly myself included, greeted this idea with much hesitation.
The issue begins with Gordon on a mission to stop a bank robbery. There are several flash backs throughout the issue which display how he was approached for the job and his struggle to become the new Batman. In these scenes are where we see most conflict of the issue. Jim Gordon’s doubt in himself, and in the project itself.
Gordon is apprehensive about becoming the next Batman. Several issues were brought up whether “he was too old”, lacked the skills the original Batman had, or just the fact”his suit looks like a robot bunny”. All of which are addressed in a very meta style, as even Jim Gordon himself shared many of the same doubts that readers would have.
Even his partner Bullock makes a few remarks about his health by mentioning his smoking habits and impaired vision, after hearing he is to become the new Batman.
There is a much more light-hearted tone than we have seen in previous Batman issues. There is a scene early on where Gordon is about to take his first death defying leap as the new Batman and he is trying to psych himself up,
“Bat-thoughts, Bat-Thoughts, Bat-thoughts…”
Another example of this playful tone is Gordon is going through the different color variations for the mechanical suit. Each of these variations, by the way, are nice little nods to previous batman suits. As Gordon’s going through the designs, his expressions are viewed as funny emoji faces. This similar effect was used back in Batgirl: Endgame.
When he is not in the mech suit, he wears a different outfit very similar to the traditional Batman we know. This Batsuit is a sleek black design, with a yellow outlined bat symbol on the chest. Gordon ditches the cape and instead has a taser gun strapped to his side.
Towards the end of the issue, after stopping the potential robbery, Jim Gordon comes to peace with what he must do. He understands the gravity of the situation. Gordon agrees to dawn the cowl and believes that he can become a better Batman since he believes he has a better understanding of right and wrong than the original Batman ever did. Jim Gordon would prefer not to dawn the bat cowl but he understands the importance of keeping the symbol alive since Batman has become this huge inspirational figure to Gotham.
The very last page of the issue ends with an epic cliffhanger. We see what could possibly be Bruce Wayne’s return. Bruce’s survival is hinted in Divergence as a man with crutches is walking next to a boy with an “R” symbol on his jacket. In this issue we find him or someone who apparently resembles him, full beard, sitting on a park bench. This only further draws many questions that are just waiting to be answered in the upcoming issues.
Batman #41 is a great start in this new direction. This issue is fantastic. The beautiful minds of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have done it again. It is as if Scott Snyder listened to the readers concerns, then in this issue turned around and said, “Don’t worry guys, we got this.”