Batman #51 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

Fifty-one consecutive issues driven by the same core talent – a true feat in the comic book world. This flagship of DC’s New 52 has retained its quality and ability to captivate from start to finish. Scott Snyder is a masterful storyteller whose vision of Batman came to fruition with thanks largely to Greg Capullo’s modern style. There couldn’t have been a better team to drive this ambitious era of the Dark Knight.

 

I previously thought Batman #50 was the end since it saw the conclusion of the ‘Superheavy’ Mr. Bloom saga. In all honesty, I was underwhelmed by #50 and the issue 49 leading to it. Everything leading up to it was so intense that I think my expectations became somewhat (unreasonably) high. The big finale was good, but nowhere near good enough to cap off the legendary Snyder/Capullo run. So how about #51? Was it a worthy end?

 

(potential spoilers to follow)

 

Batman #51 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

 

 

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Yes, it was absolutely a worthy end.

 

Unlike the death and cataclysm you’d expect, Scott Snyder wrote an epilogue of sorts that gave us the exact opposite. We get to see the newly minted Bruce Wayne venture into the city when in actuality, nothing is wrong. A power outage throughout Gotham has the Bat assuming the worst. He visits every usual suspect to find that none of them are involved in the event that put the city in the dark. We get to see just about every villainous element from the New 52 including the Arkham crew (minus the Joker) right down to the Court of Owls mysteriously plotting something nefarious in Gotham’s underbelly.

 

As Batman searches for the culprit you’d expect him to see the worst unfolding in the blackout. Instead, he sees a man chasing after a woman and her child to RETURN her dropped purse. He sees families enjoying candle lit dinners and friends conversing without hesitation on a rooftop. He witnesses Gotham unafraid – a Gotham that is rarely shown. There must be a circumstance of fear or a criminal element For Batman’s justice to be served. In this instance, he essentially has the night off.

 

When I describe it, this issue almost sounds boring when it is anything but. Tension builds throughout all the way until the point Batman learns that the blackout was a natural occurrence. I really expected this to jump right into another storyline that will be explored by Snyder and Capullo’s successors (there was a little bit of that but it certainly wasn’t the point of the issue). As he moved from place to place and villain to villain, I never thought of it as a true epilogue so I anticipated things to go to hell.

 

The story is framed around little lines of white text in black boxes themed “Gotham is…”. I didn’t really get their purpose until the end when you see that an editorial column is unfolding. In this piece, a columnist receives letters from Gotham’s citizens finishing the sentence “Gotham is…”. He notes that the letters were originally a true reflection of the average Gothamite’s mindset – disturbed, dark, and depressed. However, the column contributions gradually transformed into something else. Hope began to show when there once was none at all. He notes that the people of Gotham are only able to feel hopeful because they have a protector, they have the Batman.

 

How often do you get to see Batman, a tortured soul by nature, happy? You don’t. And I’m so glad Scott Snyder left us with an inkling of hope. It was refreshing to end a legendary run in such a way.

 

My rating of Batman #51 is 10 out of 10. It couldn’t have ended with anything less.

 

10 out of 10

 

Seriously – go read it even if you’re not current with the story. I think I’m going to read through it again right now.

 

 

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