Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Many Days of Horror! - Batman: The Black Mirror

I wouldn't ordinarily suggest a costumed vigilante/superhero comic or graphic novel for a horror review, but the truth is that Batman: The Black Mirror is downright disturbing. Honestly, the fact that the protagonist is a capable crime fighter makes some of what goes on in the book even more horrific. Sometimes, the worst sort of evil hides way below the radar of costumed justice.

Batman, albeit apparently one Dick Grayson (former Robin turned Nightwing) filling in for a year while Bruce Wayne is off....doing....something? --it's not really explained in this GN-- is the lead for this adventure, a lengthy tale which spanned at least a dozen issues of the old Batman comic (pre New 52, I think). Written by Scott Snyder, this book apparently got accolades for his storyline, and it shows. The art style is distinct as well and fairly consistent, between "Jock" and Francesco Francavilla. I only read comics these days, I don't usually follow the personalities behind them anymore unless someone's work really stands out. Well guess what! Scott Snyder & co., their work stands out, and I will be looking for more of his writing in the future.

The plot in a nutshell: Bruce Wayne has taken off due to odd plot reasons typical of comic book continuity, and Dick Grayson has hung up his Nightwing garb to play Batman for a while. Meanwhile, a menagerie of more disturbing psychopaths and monstrosities have come to town to plague Gotham City, including The Dealer, who specializes in procuring the odd weaponized artifacts of other criminals for the black market. The worst of the lot by far is no less than Comissioner Jim Gordon's young son from his first marriage, James, who is a diagosed psychopath, and over whom lingers a disturbing reality: the criminals who don't get dressed up in costumes? They're the ones that most easily fly under the sonar of The Bat.

If you want a good read with excellent visuals, pick up The Black Mirror. It's one of the better Batman tales I've seen in a long while, and almost disappointing that Dick Grayson apparently didn't get to continue being Batman after Snyder's run as writer.


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