What does being the Batman mean? “Batman #42” (Review)

Jul 16, 2015

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Batman-42-CoverBatman #42
DC Comics

Written by Scott Snyder
Art By Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia

Batman #42 continues the transition of Gordon taking up the mantle of Batman and what the true meaning of the Batman is to the people of Gotham.

This review contains spoilers.

Interestingly enough, the issue opens up with two kids discussing who is the better Batman, while holding action figures up of Bruce Wayne’s Batman and Gordon’s Batman.

Gordon is still adjusting to his role as the new Batman. The primarily conflict still appears to be Gordon’s continued struggle taking the role as the Batman, while attempting to understand what being the Batman really means. He recently confessed to his daughter that he has accepted the role of the Batman and has made some adjustments to his life style, he is taking care of himself physically and has even stopped smoking.Batman-42-02

In this issue, Gordon receives a Batmobile, that’s more of a Bat-Truck. It’s more of a tank, or a train really that Gordon can now control from his armored suit. One of the biggest differences between this Batman and Bruce’s is that Gordon has an entire team dedicated to perfecting these gadgets and weaponry. One of the newer things introduced was a “Bat-App” which, admittedly, sounded a bit silly. This is to replace Batman’s bat-signal. Where users can launch the application and activate whenever they are in danger.

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batman42-4Gordon runs into former mobster Gee Gee Heung, who Gordon had previously locked up. During this encounter, however, Gordon noticed that Heung has developed Powers that allow him to manipulate earth elements. After the fight, it becomes apparent that someone is distributing a seed into the skin of users, causing them to gain temporary powers and then death. In this issue, we get the first mention of the new super villain, Mr. Bloom, who is the source of this mysterious seed.

Mr. Bloom was originally announced as the villain back in May. He will dawn the cover of the upcoming Batman #43 issue.

The overall tone of the issue can be summed up during a conversation that Gordon has with Julia Pennyworth when he asks about her time working with Batman.

“You worry about Batman meaning something to people….You’ll go down fast. If you do it your way, the things you believe in, the things you stand for? Batman will stand for those too.”

The story returns to the children from the beginning of the issue. It appears they are in a school, and none other than Bruce Wayne, himself, makes an appearance. The direction that Bruce Wayne is yet to be revealed, we find him at the end of this issue, possibly working at a school as a janitor? Did Bruce lose his memory after the battle between the Joker. Is he simply stepping out of the light as Batman and allowing someone else to take up the mantle of the Bat similar to the ending of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises?

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The issue ends with Bruce walking into another room, only to be greeted by Gordon introducing himself as Batman.batman42-3

Batman #42 is more of a slow burn but it’s clear that Snyder and Capullo are preparing for something much bigger in the upcoming issues. The artwork is fantastic. There was one particular panel that I have to applaud which was drawn beautifully by Capullo, where Bruce is standing in the shadows. The shadows hit is face so perfectly that it also feels as if we could even be looking at Bruce as Batman.

Batman #42 continues to focus on the development of these characters and the new portrayal of Gotham City, post-Joker. Capullo and Snyder continue to deliver a concise  story that avoids the shadows of the previous storyline. Although, Gordon’s inner struggle is heavily discussed, this is clearly an issue about the Batman, no matter who wears it.

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