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Comic Review: Batman #26

Batman 26 Greg Capullo Scott Snyder New 52

Batman comics have re-imagined that fateful night in Crime Alley behind the movie theatre over and over again. A gun, a broken string of pearls and little Bruce huddled over his dead parents.

But what happened on the day before that night?

It’s the question no one ever asks, but the one for which Scott Snyder has an answer in Batman #26.

Snyder has already taken on Batman: Year One by redoing Bruce Wayne’s formative bat moment, but Batman #26 is great because instead of redoing what’s been done, it strikes out into new territory.

Snyder uses the day before the death of the Waynes to paint a picture – with Greg Capullo’s help – of a juvenile delinquent Bruce who sneaks into movie theatres and of once-crooked Jim Gordon, the cop who could have – if he’d only been honest – cleaned up the place where Bruce’s parents would later die.

After a few issues of Bruce practically antagonizing Gordon, Snyder at last gives us something that makes their relationship totally understandable. It’s a twist of character and a different take on the Batman myth that shows just how fruitful it can be to revisit Batman’s early years.

And it all culminates in one panel from Greg Capullo where Bruce stares down the barrel of a gun pointed straight at Gordon. Capullo gets the barely-in-control look on Bruce’s face, the quiver in his eyes, and the fear in Gordon’s outstretched hand, all in the full page shot. In that one panel, everything makes sense.

Batman #26 also continues the Dr. Death plotline and sends Commissioner Loeb gunning for Batman, but make no mistake: this is about Bruce and Jim.

There’s a lot of history buried there and as Zero Year unfolds, that’ll be the real conflict to watch.

9 out of 10

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