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Comic Review: Batman #20

Batman #20 cover by Greg Capullo DC Comics

Batman #20 is the second in a two-part caper that feels like the conclusion of a 1960s Adam West Batman cliffhanger. It drags Bruce Wayne out of a seemingly impossible situation, gives him a bunch of outlandish Bat-gadgets, and then manages to resolve every issue in a way that maintains the status quo.

But it also steps beyond that formula at times with some fun fan service moments and a heartfelt epilogue for the lost Damian Wayne, making it more than a ho-hum Batman punch-em-up.

Greg Capullo’s art has a much different feel in this issue because so much of it revolves around drawing his decidedly innocent-looking Bruce Wayne. This limits Capullo’s effectiveness, as his best work usually comes out of action scenes and dark, gritty images.

Unfortunately, there’s little of that here, outside of the twisted faces and the muddy forms of Clayface. Even the traditional Batman costume is absent, as Scott Snyder’s script calls for special Batsuits to defeat Clayface.

One of those suits is pure fan service: a red and black Batman Beyond prototype from Lucius Fox that needs “at least twenty years before the thing is cost effective.”

We also get to see the Batman Incorporated robots in battle in another moment that nicely situates this story in the context of the current Batman mythos.

Cute fan service moments aside, Batman #20 is one of Scott Snyder’s weaker issues on this series because he doesn’t get much opportunity for the character work that has made his current run so beloved.

In fact, it takes until the last few pages for him to really find the heartstrings. He returns to the recorded Batman and Robin outing that Bruce watched in the last issue and brings Alfred into the picture for a wonderful quiet moment that feels quite out of place when put beside the more frantic, somewhat hokey Clayface plot.

This two-part Clayface story has been overburdened with the influences of the broader Batman universe, but Scott Snyder will be taking the character back to basics for what promises to be a fantastic Batman #21 next month.

7 out of 10

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  1. May 13, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Love the artwork in this book!

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