January 20, 2012

REVIEW: Batman #5

Holy crap. Did my Batman comic book just turn upside down?! The best book of DC's New 52 continues!

When we left the Caped Crusader at the end of Batman #4, Batman was investigating a lead in the sewers when he was abruptly captured by a member of the Court of Owls. The issue ended with Batman left trapped in a giant maze. Issue #5 takes places eight days later, and poor Batman is still trapped in the Court's maze. Weak and frail, Bruce is surviving merely on his now failing instincts and what may even be poisoned water that he can't help but drink just to survive.

It's widely known that one of Batman's greatest strengths is his perseverance, and it's clearly being put to the test here by the Court of Owls. From the get-go, it's clear Bruce is on the edge of insanity - it's pretty anyone's guess whether or not what of what happens here is purely Bruce's hallucinations or actually happening, but its safe to say the Dark Knight is in quite a predicament. It was almost a bit uncomfortable at times, because its always unnerving to see anyone in such a sad state. You can't help but feel very, very sorry for Bruce, but at the same time you'll find yourself wanting to turn the page.

To help show Batman's mental breakdown, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo literally turn the book sideways and upside down. It's a pretty simple move and I can't recall this ever happening in any comic book I've ever read, but its a GREAT storytelling device and works especially and incredibly well here with Snyder's words and Capullo's pictures on the page. I'd post preview images, but I don't want to take away from the experience. READ THE ISSUE! (Here's hoping the digital version translates the same way!)

It's obvious to all of us now that the Court of Owls mean business. Ever since issue #1, Bruce has been confident that the Court didn't exist. Boy, was he ever wrong. After reading this issue I can't help but feel that the Court might be one of the next great Batman villains of all time. They've clearly pushed Batman to both his physical and mental breaking point. The last page is an eye-opener, and I can't wait to read the next issue.

Issue #5 is an extremely tense one, and my eyes were glued to the page throughout its entirety. Five issues in, and Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's work on Batman is as great as ever. Hands down their BEST issue so far, and still definitely the best book of the New 52. It's hard to say what I enjoyed more - the story or the art, but this issue totally blew my mind when I read it.

THE GOOD: Everything, cover to cover. A must buy, and still the best book of the New 52. The pages literally printed sideways and upside down was definitely the best part of the issue, and a great visual presentation of Bruce's current state of mind. Bring on issue #6!

THE BAD: Nothing obviously, but you can't help but feel bad for what's happening to poor Bruce.

THE ART: Awesome! Capullo has been great since issue #1, but his art especially shines here.

Further Reading:

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