Written By: Scott Snyder
Art By: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, FCO Plascencia, Steve Wands
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 27, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
We've got our Bat back in action and everything is finally right in the world! While I didn't mind the concept of Jim Gordon rocking the bat moniker, it just didn't come together the way I think it was originally intended and because of it we couldn't wait to get Bruce back in the cowl...... which we have... which leads to everything being right in the world! Woo! Okay, let's calm down now and check out some Batman back on the beat and back in our hearts with this issue as we start winding down to Rebirth. Let's check it out.
In this issue of Batman we take a look at something that Scott Snyder has been playing with since he started this series and that's the character of Gotham itself. Throughout this issue we're presented with different concepts of what Gotham is through many captions and while originally I thought that this was just a silly contrived way to pad out the issue so that it didn't look so sparse, I have to admit that by the end of this book I seriously had the chills and if it's one thing I really look for in the comics I'm reading, it's that they make me feel something and goddamn, Batman did the trick. So yeah, Batman is back in action and while our hero and the supporting characters are getting back to their status quo, with Jim Gordon going back to looking like his beautiful, disheveled, middle aged self and Alfred rocking both his hands again, thanks to something that I've never heard of before called a "healing stitch" created by Crazy Quilt, some trouble is brewing in Gotham City when a rumble is felt and the city's power grid goes down.
After the power goes out, Batman goes throughout the city, with us following him, as he tracks down leads to find out why the city has gone dark and if something bigger is on the way. This takes us down to the depths of the Court of the Owls' secret Labyrinth, to Arkham Asylum, the Iceberg Casino with Penguin, Great White Shark and Black Mask and then to a kid that made some bad life choices when he was younger and joined the Whisper Gang until Batman opened his eyes. This last part is the most important because we find out that this kid took his second chance and made good on it by becoming a columnist for the Gotham Gazette and the reason this is so important is because the column he writes is called "Gotham Is", where people write in about what they think........ well, what Gotham Is. We hear that it all used to be negative, like what we started this story with with the caption boxes, but since Batman started the negativity has waned and the column has become more positive and that's what makes this story so great is that everything that we're reading is this character's column for the upcoming day and how he believes that Gotham is Batman and even though I started this issue out thinking that this narration was just silly, it simply became beautiful at the end and made me feel apart of the book like I was a part of Gotham itself.
In the end, we find out that nothing was really going on in Gotham and that the power outage was simply due to a natural occurrence, but we spent the evening with Batman as he showed us that he's back in action and that he was in complete control of his city throughout and I found myself loving this issue for how simple it was, while hitting all the right notes to truly bring on the feels for any Batman fan.
That's it for this issue of Batman and obviously, I love this issue. While it was very low key and light on the action, it succeeded in catching us all up with what's going on with Gotham, from the rogues that Batman regularly fights, to his friends and the very thought of what the people of Gotham feel about their city and their hero. It was just fantastic and while I love the story, the art played really well too, with some minor exceptions to some of the Arkham regulars, but ultimately this issue is one of my favorites in a long time and I hope this is just a taste of what's to come in Rebirth, even though Scott Snyder's not continuing on this title. I just hope that we get the same kind of feel that this issue offered. Yeah, the stuff with Alfred was kind of played off like it was nothing that he got his hand back and that's a little disappointing since that was a major moment for the character when he lost it, but really this issue is something that I could read over and over again if I was having a bad day because it definitely put me in a better mood after reading it and as crazy or naive as it sounds, it made me think that everything was going to be okay. I don't know if that's just in the case of Gotham or life itself, it's just the feeling I got and I'll go with it.
Bits and Pieces:
Batman #51 hits all the right notes as it catches us up on what's going on in Gotham, while re-acclimating us to the Batman we've missed. This is just a beautiful issue that relies on the narration to tell us a story about what Gotham is, while we follow Batman throughout the night and with great art and a story that offers up plenty of feels, this is definitely a issue that you won't want to miss.