Review: Batman #44

Batman #44 CoverBatman #44 takes a break from the current story arc featuring Jim Gordon as a mechanized suit wearing Batman and  tells a story taking place shortly after Zero Year. Although this is a stand alone story in that no knowledge of the current story arc need be known, there is an almost subtle reference to the villain of the previous issues – not quite the origin that the DC solicits have been promising us. Scott Snyder is join by Brian Azzarello for writing duties this month, and the pair have written a story that is, frankly, the best issue of a Batman led series since Convergence ended a few months back.

I haven’t been this excited over a Batman comic in months.

Without taking anything away from Greg Capullo‘s art on Batman since the beginning of the New 52 (I love his interpretation of Batman), Jock‘s art in this issue is absolutely stunning, but perhaps the highlight of the entire comic for me was the beautiful work of colour artist Lee Loughbridge. Often times when reading a comic the colourist is largely over looked, or completely ignored – we all enjoy their contributions, but we don’t think of them as being as integral to the comic as the writer or artist (although that’s a subject for another time). Batman #44 is an example of Lee Loughbridge taking the already brilliant artwork of Jock and elevating it to another level. Would the page have the impact that they do if it wasn’t for Loughridge‘s work? Probably not.

Toward the end of the comic there is a two page spread that brings together elements that have been hinted at throughout the comic into a jaw dropping piece of art, and credit is owed to letterer Deron Bennett as well as Jock and Loughbridge. If DC ever decide print a poster of that two page spread, then they can take my money.

The story itself reminds me of just how much I miss Bruce Wayne as the Dark Knight; I am enjoying the mechanized Batman, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about seeing an independent Batman who isn’t sanctioned by the city that I didn’t realize I missed. As previously mentioned, Snyder and Azzarello focus on an early period in the Dark Knights’ career, just after the events of Zero YearIf you’ve never read that arc, then basically Gotham hits the Stone Age and several areas are pretty much destroyed. Needless to say after that arc, Gotham needs a bit of clean up. The story in this issue, A Simple Case, deals in part with the repercussions from that period. Do we get an origin of Mr. Bloom? Not in the typical sense, but I actually prefer the way that this story was handled.

A Simple Case is a good Batman story, and it’s entirely possible I’m as excited as I am about it because I miss the adventures of Bruce Wayne when he is under the cowl, but I also think that Batman #44 is the strongest issue featuring Batman since the mechanized suit debuted. On top of that, while Jock‘s layouts and art work are spectacular, and well worth any and all praise, it’s the work of Lee Loughbridge that elevates this comic to the next level.

Buy this comic today.

Writers: Scott Snyder and Brian Azzarello Art: Jock Colours: Lee Loughbridge Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy


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