Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Batman #22

Comic Review: Batman #22

Batman #22 cover Greg Capullo New 52

Four pages into Batman #22, it becomes absolutely clear: Scott Snyder is on to something special.

Snyder and artist Greg Capullo have created a pre-Batman Gotham City that isn’t just waiting around for the Caped Crusader. It’s a world unto itself, complete with an intricately rendered Bruce Wayne and an equally engaging pre-Joker Red Hood.

The dynamic between the two evokes a line from The Dark Knight: “You and I are destined to do this forever.”

Snyder’s Zero Year feels like another world – another lifetime – altogether, and that’s a good thing.

The hints of Batman are still there – particularly in flashbacks to the iconic childhood cave scene – but Bruce Wayne isn’t waiting around for a bat to crash through his window.

He’s the one doing the crashing.

Unlike Batman #21, there are no glimpses of commando Batman in ruined Gotham City this time. Snyder for the most part keeps his focus on the conflict between Bruce and Red Hood, and on Bruce’s underground struggle to find the right approach to life in Gotham City.

Snyder writes a fantastic clash between Bruce and Alfred, but more than anything, Snyder stands out for his portrayal of Red Hood. Red Hood feels like both the Joker and not the Joker: a fully-realized character in his own right, brilliant and criminal yet not quite as crazy as he will later become. He is a character unto himself, and entirely worthy of the story Snyder is writing around him.

Not to be forgotten, of course, is Edward Nygma, our future Riddler, who is quietly snaking his way into Bruce Wayne’s personal life by getting involved with his uncle Philip Kane.

Greg Capullo’s art is suitably brilliant. He, as much as Snyder, deserves credit for Red Hood’s portrayal. The reflections in the helmet are fantastic, and Capullo draws the teeth in just such a way that you know – absolutely know – this is the future Joker.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are building a Batman we’ve never seen before. He’s very much rooted in the disguise-heavy Sherlock Holmes tradition, and he’s fascinating in a way Batman has never been before.

Batman #22 is poured in a different mould from anything you’ve ever read.

9.5 out of 10

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