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Batman #19 - Nowhere Man, Part 1 of 2; Ghost Lights, Part 1 of 2 Review

4

Get ready for a trip to Crazy Town as Bruce Wayne becomes a dangerous threat to Gotham and the GCPD.

The Good

There's nothing like some craziness and mystery to start off a comic. From the gatefold cover with Bruce Wayne holding a gun at Commissioner Gordon to the opening sequence, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo work together to give us some shocks. Capullo cleverly lays out the scene to give us a sense of the scope of the situation. We're treated to a mix of different angles and perspectives that really gives you a feel for what's going on. Aside from the shock of the situation, it's almost as if they're reading our minds by showing us every possible angle in case we had any doubts about what was happening.

Before we get all the answers and things start to get really insane, Snyder pulls a "Six days ago…" on us. This type of storytelling can be fun at times. It's not something that Snyder has used often so that makes it work. There is a certain charm when we're brought into the middle of the story and then it flashes back a bit to bring us up to speed. Seeing the Reaper brings me back to Batman: Year Two. The character may have a bit of a confusion history given the different people that have worn the costume but it's great seeing a character we haven't seen over and over. The flashback to six days ago also allows us to see more of how Bruce is dealing with the current events in his life.

This leads to Batman being put on a case and forced to do some detective work. We don't often see Batman doing this much detecting in comics so it's a fun treat, even if you might already know what the answer might be. Seeing Capullo draw the scenes leading up to the end reminds us just how detailed and sometimes grotesque he can make things.

The back up features Batman and one of the few characters he would consider a friend (I won't spoil it even though it may be common knowledge who appears). James Tynion IV and Alex Maleev give us a fun tale that pulls the characters away from their current events and reminds us why and how they can work so well together. I can't say I'm super-crazy about the threat they're dealing with but it does make a fascinating story.

The Bad

The twist in this issue would have been better without having prior knowledge of who was responsible. Even though it wasn't specifically mentioned in the solicit for the next issue, the cover did make it a little obvious. That also gives other possible spoilers as well. I might be looking too deeply into this but as crazy as the opening scene was, you have to know something's going on. But the fun part will be in seeing why it's going on.

It's almost strange in a way to see Batman in this title seemingly take on a 'smaller' case after the epic Court of Owls, Night of the Owls and Death of the Family stories. It should be a relief to see Batman involved in a shorter lasting story but there was a tiny sense that we're just biding our time until Zero Year. Perhaps it's just the anticipation of that arc that is building up inside me.

Speaking of Zero Year, that exact phrase is actually used in the comic. It's meant to be a small tease for us but hopefully there will be an explanation why it's used by the character. It felt a little out of place to be said in the story but I'd imagine Snyder has something planned in the upcoming story and this will turn out to be a phrase that some actually use.

The last we saw of a certain villain was in Arkham Asylum. I suppose in the craziness of the events in Death of the Family, this character, and likely others, managed to escape since the place was in chaos.

The Verdict

As great as the art was last issue (I do love Andy Kubert's pencils), there is a reassuring feeling seeing Greg Capullo's pencils along with Scott Snyder's words. With a crazy opening scene, it's a wonderful change of pace to see the action take place in the middle of the day. Capullo gets the opportunity to depict the characters in a brighter light and we get a chance to see Danny Miki's inks and FCO Plascencia's colors shine. The issue does start out with a pleasant mystery but there seemed to be a slightly obvious explanation as to what was really going on. Maybe it's just from reading Batman for so many years or maybe I'm just being too hard on the issue. Having the story shift back some days before the opening gives us that tease of a feeling knowing where the story is going to go but not being really sure how it will get there. Seeing Batman do more detective work is always a welcomed sight. James Tynion IV and Alex Maleev begin an interesting back up story that shows us why Batman works so well with a particular other character. Snyder and Capullo continue to show us you simply can't go wrong with BATMAN. You're always guaranteed a good time.

34 Comments
Posted by Trevel8182

Batman's being such a whiner about Robin dying it's not like his son died.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

Batman's being such a whiner about Robin dying it's not like his son died.

Edited by -The Renegade-

Great review G-Man. I'm happy Snyder's doing a short two part story, before his year long Zero Year arc.

Posted by End_Boss
Posted by TheCheeseStabber

Someone wanna spoil me on who the villain is

Posted by yo_yo_fun

Awesome review!

I can't wait to read it!

Posted by SmoothJammin

@TheCheeseStabber It's called purchase the issue and find out.

Edited by theTimeStreamer

@yo_yo_fun: how can you call it awesome when you havent even read it? just because it's a 4 star?

Posted by TheCheeseStabber

@smoothjammin: Its also known as My payday does not arrive for another week so I can't.

Posted by gotwillpower

Even though I knew that things would be fixed somehow after the first scene, I was still really excited for the rest of the issue. Finding out it was Clayface wasn't really a let down for me, especially since they're evolving his powers. I would have given this issue a 5, but 4 is cool too.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

@yo_yo_fun: how can you call it awesome when you havent even read it? just because it's a 4 star?

Awesome review probably means that the review is awesome, not the comic itself.

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Edited by theTimeStreamer
Edited by yo_yo_fun

@yo_yo_fun: how can you call it awesome when you havent even read it? just because it's a 4 star?

I just meant the review was awesome, not the comic. Hopefully I'll find out soon if the comic is any good.

Edited by BatWatch

I'm definitely with on most of this. I was rather disappointed when the villain was revealed. I was not sure since the blood tests would seem to exclude the obvious perpetrator. More disappointing than the identity of the villain though was the point at which it was revealed about three quarters of the way through the story. It was a good mystery because of the blood test, but then Bats figured it out in about three seconds, so that made it kind of annoying in my view.

Though I did enjoy the main story, the backup feature was actually even better in my view. It's always great to see Bats working with Superman, and the Ghost Lights made for a really interesting villain in my view. Also, the art for Ghost Lights was excellent.

Click Here To See the BatWatch Review.

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Posted by G_Money_Christmas

I bought the foldable cover but I don't want to fold it because that will definitely degrade the value: / I think the picture is just awesome though. I'll have to read it later and see if it is.

Posted by alex6166

I saw the preview. Can't wait to pick it up. Poor Batman.

Posted by detective38

Wish the villian wouldn't have been so obvious. Saying "the zero year" in the comic seems a little on the nose to me. Overall wasn't really as big of a WTF! moment as I was made to believe. 3/5 stars

Posted by DJJLuv

Would this issue be a good jumping on point? I haven't been reading Batman, but I know the basics of what has happened and wanted to add a Batman title to my pull list. If not this title what would be a good one?

Posted by GetEveryone

@batwatch: Yeah, Alex Maleev is incredible.

I recently dipped Bendis' Daredevil run, which he provided art for, and it's totally mesmerizing.

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

I'm really excited for zero year. I don't know of any good Riddler stories, and it'll be cool to see Bats setting up his cave and stuff.

Edited by TimeLordScience

@djjluv said:

Would this issue be a good jumping on point? I haven't been reading Batman, but I know the basics of what has happened and wanted to add a Batman title to my pull list. If not this title what would be a good one?

Yeah it's actually not a bad jumping on point.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

This was alright. Not bad or not really good.

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Posted by manwithoutshame

I liked it. Also, they should give The Dark Knight series to Tynion and Maleev.

Posted by noj

@djjluv: Its a pretty good jumping on point. This issue and the next are quick two issue arc before the next huge storyline. Its been a consistently great book I seriously recommend you put it on your pull list. If you wanted to add another title check out Batman and Robin. Start with #18 and go from there. Its a little more complicated though since it deals with the aftermath of the death of Robin and the next 5 issues are going to be sorta team ups titled Batman and Red Robin, Batman and Red Hood, ect. Its also an amazing book though just as good as the main Batman title.

Posted by longbowhunter

I loved this. It was nice after such a big arc to get back to something a little more simplistic. Seeing Reaper was a lot of fun. I've heard Scott mention his love of Year Two before in interviews. The back up was great too. After his run on Daredevil I've been a big Maleev fan. To see Batman investigating supernatural phenomenon is always a treat to me. It fits Gotham and I love seeing myth and magic vs. logic and science. Superman was totally out if his comfort zone.

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Posted by sourcebreaker

WOAH! batman got 4-starred reviews twice in a row!

Posted by kilomac29

I really enjoyed this issue. The first few pages really hooked me. Totally agree with the "Zero Year" comment though, even the way it was phrased seemed really forced. Thought "Ghost Lights" was an excellent backup story. I've enjoyed what I've read of James Tynion IV, thus far. Looking forward to his run on Red Hood and the Outlaws.

Edited by Nazab

Snyder and Capullo are making a good plot, and even if is a small one, I just hope it doesn't fall at the end. And Tynion did a great job in the issue. Waiting for his work on RHATO.

Edited by DJJLuv

@noj: Thanks for the info. I just read this issue of Batman and really enjoyed it. I will be sure to add it to my list. I will also check out Batman and Robin.

Posted by Ashlor84

FINALLY, Snyder understands that Batman is a detective (the best in the world), not a random guy being victimized by the Court, the Joker ... Of course we know from the beginning who the villain we're dealing with is, of course this story won't last long, but hell, this issue was great. If Zero Year looks like this #19, it's gonna be damn cool to read.

So please Scott, now that you've understood that we've seen Batman being victimized way too much and that we don't give a damn about Harper Row, make of Zero Year a great story with crimes, investigations, interesting bad guys(no need to create them, Batman has so many cool villains), but please, let Batman do his detective job.

Posted by Owie

I wasn't all that amazed by this issue, after all the amazing issues they've done before, but if it's only 2 issues I guess I can last it out until year 0.

Posted by Cyborg6971

Was I the only one who didn't get a gate fold cover?

Edited by redcordialman

This is just a winning combo.. I sometimes wish this team did the other bat-family titles so i could be saying this about NW and RH&O. Anyway back to bats with our fold out month. Bruce pulls a Gatt 'KILLER' then to see top cop jim on the recieving end (insert N.W.A - F*** the police) pure gold. Good story + well mixed villian = batman 19.