Hungry For More
There's been much praise for Scott Snyder's writing, and while I feel that it's excellent, I'm still holding my breath and waiting to read more of his work before I make my final judgment upon whither or not I like his overall approach to Batman and, specifically, Dick Grayson. Anyways, just as they say that "hunger is the best spice", I might be praising Snyder so much because Daniel's writing has been so dismal and it just makes me over-joyed to finally read something competently written that isn't by veterans such as Dini, Morrison, or Rucka.
I love Dick's reflections upon the pressures of taking up the mantle of Batman. But I'm concerned that, as well written as they are, they might become a hindrance to Dick's growth as a crime fighter should he continue to belittle his efforts rather than learn from his mistakes. And as such, his inner-monologue might become stale and uninteresting in time.
The art direction was cleverly and adeptly applied. Although I wasn't entirely a fan of Jock's approach to drawing faces and facial expressions (many of the characters in this issue wore the same expressions on their faces in every scene and, in the case of The Road Runner, looked too gentle at times) I felt that it was more than compensated for with the beautifully thought out panel layouts, which pulled you in just the right amount to drive the suspense, and well conceived colouring and art direction, which went for a pitch-perfect modern noir style that mixed the classic (Tim Sale) and the modern (Christopher Nolan) perfectly.
Something more subtle, yet worth mentioning, is how well space is used throughout the issue to give the impression of Dick's difficulty navigating this new Gotham while in the guise of Batman. Most panels only contain portions of a scene, glimpses and fleeting impressions of an environment with hardly any real detail, giving the reader a sense of what it must be like to be in Dick's head - confused and uncertain in an environment that's alien to him. Working upon an incomplete puzzle. It's only when he's most comfortable (flying through the air, high above Gotham), or when he's gained new insight into this alien world (discovering his mistake in landing in the trash compactor), that the environment is fully fleshed out and we see the world in greater detail. It's a subtle touch that a less imaginative writer/artist team might not have taken in favor of a more literal approach.