Review by Paul Bowler
The Dark Knight returns to Gotham City in the extra sized Batman #50 for the thrilling conclusion of Snyder and Capullo’s epic Superheavy story-arc! Bruce Wayne has regained his memories and reclaimed the mantel of the Bat to join Jim Gordon in the battle against Mr Bloom and save the city they have sworn to protect.
Batman #50 sees the return of Bruce Wayne to the cape and cowl as Mr Bloom and his super-powered-seed army lays siege to all of Gotham. With the city reeling from Mr Bloom’s onslaught, Batman, Jim Gordon, and Powers Internationals army of GCPD Bat-Bots unite against Gotham’s towering new super villain, and the fate of the city will be decided as Batman’s showdown with Mr Bloom reaches its thrilling conclusion!
Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s Superheavy arc saw Jim Gordon step up as Gotham’s new Bat-Bot suited Dark Knight following Batman’s apparent demise in Endgame while Bruce Wayne – now without his memories of being Batman – forged a new life with his old flame Julie Madison. Jim became the Batman the city needed at this dark time, but Bruce’s past wouldn’t rest easily, the Joker also survived Endgame, albeit radically changed by the experience, and now Mr Bloom’s rise to power has forced Bruce to sacrifice his newfound life to become the Batman again. Superheavy Part 10 stands as the total culmination of everything Snyder and Capullo have achieved with this story-arc, and it is only now that we can begin to fully appreciate the immense scope and scale of this game-changing storyline as it races towards its city shaking finale!
The beard may be no more, but Bruce Wayne is well and truly back in Batman #50 all kitted out in a new Bat-Suit and ready to give the citizens of Gotham a Batman they’ve never seen before – the Dark Knight they’ve deserved all along. Meanwhile, it’s all going to hell in Gotham as Mr Bloom and his seed-powered minions go on the rampage, while Julia Pennyworth tries to get the injured Jim Gordon to safety, and the Robo-Bat-Suited Commissioner Sawyer leads Gotham’s robo-suited Finest in the fight against Mr Bloom.
Just when it seems that all is lost, the one, true Dark Knight finally returns, rising from the shattered vestiges of Gotham’s most iconic symbol. It’s the rousing moment we’ve all been waiting for since Superheavy began and Snyder delivers it with a series of fan-pleasing moments, revitalized by the Dionesium and with Penny One to welcome him back, its clear Batman is relishing every moment of being back in the cape and cowl. This issue, perhaps more so than any before, exemplifies everything that Snyder and Capullo have done during their tenure on Batman. Sure, Batman #50 is packed with city smashing drama, but as fun and exciting as all the Bat-Bot action is, it is instead the emotionally charged character moments Snyder uses to punctuate the drama at key moments that really strike a chord, especially the moving reunion between Batman and Gordon, we also discover what happened to Duke Thomas’ parents, and there’s a bizarre connection amidst some recently acquired evidence that provides a sinister and unexpected connection to Mr Bloom’s origin.
Greg Capullo has well and truly surpassed all our expectations with his artwork on this issue. It looks absolutely stunning! Every page will have you mesmerised by the way Capullo maintains the fluidity and pace of the plot, infusing every scene with a staggering level of detail that almost defies description, to make Batman #50 one of his finest issues ever. From the symbolic moment of Bruce choosing of a new costume, to its eventual reveal, the nail biting tension in the Bat-Blimp high over Gotham, though to Gordon’s resolve to find another way to get the job done, and the bombastic smack down between Batman and Mr Bloom, Capullo pulls out all the stops here, along with Danny Miki’s brilliant inks, and FCO’s glorious colors, to deliver the rousing finale for the conclusion of Snyder’s epic Superheavy storyline. If this issue was a gym session, then suffice to say it’s probably the most extreme work out of Capullo’s artistic talents we’ve ever seen.!
The redesign of the Bat-Suit is both subtle and effective, with some classic embellishments – one in particular being a symbolic fusion of the old and the new in a way that I‘m really pleased to see carry over from Gordon‘s EVA Bat Suit – along with new gloves and cape, but despite all the upgrades and tech its still good to see that some things never change; especially when it comes to Batman getting the boot in during a fight!
In the build up towards its climatic moments, Batman #50 finds all the players in place for the final fight against Mr Bloom. With the Collider kicking off like Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun all over Gotham, Batman and Mr Bloom going toe to toe in scenes that makes Man of Steel look positively tame by comparison, a daring rescue that will grab you by the scruff of the neck and leave you punching the air with glee, and Gordon calling on his Rookie one last time to bring us to possibly the biggest moment of the entire arc as the fate of Gotham City teeters on a superconductive event horizon that burns with hope for a better tomorrow…
Batman #50 also features an eight page coda, written by Scott Snyder, and featuring terrific artwork by Yanick Prouette and colors by Nathan Fairbairn As epilogues go, this little interlude actually proves to be just as powerful and as moving as the main bulk of the story in the issue. The initial focuse is on Jim Gordon, there are some wonderful scenes here, lots of familiar faces, and it seems that there are going to be some pretty major changes at the GCPD as well. Of course it’s when Jim and Batman finally discuss everything that happened since Endgame as they survey the wounded city before them that are really this codas finest moments, and there’s even time for a reconciliation between Duke and Bruce, and some poignant reflection for Julie Madison.
Well… here we are. Yes, as we now know, Batman #50 is indeed Scott Snyder’s and Greg Capullo’s penultimate issue of Batman. Their run on this series has been a tremendous achievement; and its brought us so many incredible stories and iconic moments. Snyder and Capullo have redefined the mythology of the Bat itself, and then some! Having announced their tenure will conclude next issue with Batman #51, Snyder and Capullo have been saying for a while now that they plan to reunite on another project in the near future. In the interim, Batman #52, by James Tvnion IV and Rafael Alberque will bring this current volume to an end before Batman relaunches in June with a new creative team as part of DC’s forthcoming Rebirth event.
I will look to the future with a mixture of sadness, trepidation, and anticipation for the future of this title, along with Rebirth and the changes it brings to DC Comics, and excitement for what Snyder and Capullo will do next. For now though, let’s not dwell on goodbyes, or what the future might hold just yet. Instead, we should celebrate this incredible giant-sized 50th issue of Batman, along with the momentous accomplishments that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have achieved on this title together with Danny Miki and FCO Plascencia. What a team! Batman #50 is a full-on epic issue in every sense of the word, the story and art will blow you away, and you will be left with an overwhelming sense that you have just read one of the greatest Batman issues ever made.
Publisher DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder / Art: Greg Capullo
Inks: Danny Miki / Colors: FCO Plascencia / Letters: Steve Wands
Epilogue Art Yanick Parquette / Epilogue Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Cover: Capullo / Miki / FCO