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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 12 comics last week: Batman #51, Doctor Strange #7, Doctor Strange: Last Day of Magic #1, Dark Knight III #4, Grayson #19, International Iron Man #2, Justice League #49, Star Wars #18 Superman/Wonder Woman #28, Avengers: Standoff #1, Amazing Spider-Man #11 and Batgirl#51.
The best comic I read last week was Batman #51.
This was simply a no brainer. The best book of the New 52. The best (and most consistent) writer/artist duo of the New 52. The best character of the New 52. The best experience of the New 52.
Batman #51 marks the end of the epic Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo run on Batman and I’ve written about this comic book almost every week since I began doing these reviews. There is a reason for that. There is no writer/artist tandem (with the possible exception of Mark Waid/Chris Samnee) that comes close to the fluid perfection of Snyder and Capullo.
Call it the perfect blend of creative team and character. The New 52 run of Batman will be remembered as one of the best runs, ever, on Batman. It is engaging. It is creative. It is shocking. It is definitive.
Snyder and Capullo’s run is what they publish omnibuses for and, though I have every issue, I am looking forward to having the full run in one volume.
Issue 51 is a reflection of issue 1 and the manner in which the story is told is brilliant. One of the things it does is showcase just how much Snyder has grown as a writer and Capullo as an artist. Reading their entire run, culminating in this issue, you get the sense that they continued to push each other just as much as they pushed the character. They continued to find new ways to practice their craft and the beneficiaries were us, the readers.
I’ve seen this issue described as a love letter to Gotham City. I would say that the entirety of the Snyder/Capullo run has been a love letter to comic book fans.
Oh, and if you simply like reading, you could do far worse than picking up a few issues of this incarnation of Batman.