The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 10 – 16, 2015

I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 5 (it was a light week – and I needed one!) comics last week: Batman #41, Detective Comics #41, Batman/Superman  #21, Chrononauts #4 and Gotham Academy #7.

The best comic I read last week was Batman #41.

batman 41

Yes, Batman again. Yes, Batman was my favorite book – by far – last week. Yes, I’ve selected Batman as my Pick of the Week more often than I have not when it’s been published.

There’s two reasons. Snyder and Capullo. I love what Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are doing monthly on this book and I cannot think of a more perfect tandem of writer and artist working in comics right now (Mark Waid and Chris Samnee come close, but Snyder and Capullo have been doing it a bit longer). It is clear – and not just from following them both on Twitter – that these two guys love working together. Equally clear is the “together” part. This is a true collaboration, Snyder playing to Capullo’s strengths and Capullo rewarding that effort with terrific work. What they’ve done over 40 issues of Batman is nothing short of remarkable.

They’ve introduced a massive new myth to Gotham in the Court of Owls. They featured a character who may or may not be Bruce Wayne’s brother (I am undecided on if I believe Thomas or not – what a cool place to be in as a reader!). They created a definitive Joker story in Death of the Family. They re-told the most sacrosanct origin in all of comics in long form. Then they told THE definitive Joker story.

And now they’ve made Jim Gordon Batman.

Bravo, gentlemen. I wasn’t sure of this turn (another cool place to be as a reader) but I should have had faith. This feels like a logical and natural outgrowth of the stories you’ve been telling. The Batman armor character design is stunning (we need another series of Capullo action figures now, please.) Jim Gordon’s choice to become this particular version of Batman is consistent with how you’ve drawn the character in your arcs. He’s primed to for the role.

Bottom line? In Batman #41, every choice you made as creators worked for me as a reader.

I don’t think Bruce Wayne is dead, but that’s not the story here. Awaiting his return from the dead (sooner than we might have anticipated, it seems) is not the point. The point is what Snyder and Capullo are doing with a 75-year-old concept. They’re making it new.

That’s a pretty damned cool thing to do. I am hanging on every panel.

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Weekly Comic Book Review

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