Batman #24 is supposed to be an amazing triumph from Snyder and Capullo, but I'm not so sure I'll agree since most people have been keen on this entire arc, and I've not really been impressed. Clearly, I'm getting to the game late with this review, but I am excited to finally have the chance to read this landmark issue for myself and see what has captured everybody's attention.
Is Batman #24 truly a triumph or is it just another let down?
In this issue, Batman debuts in Gotham but Bruce Wayne exposes the Red Hood Gang's plot.
Batman Comics Work Better with Batman
The first few issues of this arc felt a bit random to me. The Red Hood Gang had an unclear origin, and Bruce's return to Gotham was oddly bypassed as we first saw him only after his war on crime had already begun. Then, we saw Bruce fumbling for several issues which didn't really satisfy me as the story seemed more caught up in Bruce's external preoccupations rather than his internal struggle.
Here, we finally see Bruce evolved to the role of Batman, and I finally feel at peace. I'm still not crazy about the first few issues of the arc, but now that we've arrived, I can sit back and just enjoy this as a fun story that happens to take place in Bruce's early years.
The best thing about this issue is clearly the constant nods to past Batman works. There is no denying that Snyder is a true fan, and he makes great use of his Batman nerd knowledge here. It seems you cannot turn a page without stumbling into another callback to the mythos of Batman, and that's a good feeling.
I'm not going to recount the story since it's likely that everyone reading this has already read it for themselves, but I did want to dive into a few spoilers and share some very quick thoughts.
(Spoilers until Conclusion)
The death of Phillip Kane felt a bit forced. The relationship between he and Bruce never quite clicked, and the idea that Bruce would still be fond of him after Phillip admitted to being involved with the Red Hood Gang is stupid. This was just another, "Someone Bruce knows has to die to give this scene poignancy," moment.
I loved the handling of The Red Hood's...death? The way things were kept ambiguous and convoluted is the perfect way to express the mystery of Joker's involvement at ACE Chemicals. This seems like the kind of case Bruce could research for years without fully understanding.
The bait and switch from Red Hood to Riddler being the big baddie for the series was handled very well. It's about time Riddler get his proper moment in the sun as one of Gotham's baddest bad boys, and I look forward to seeing him menace Gotham in the future. I'm guessing Riddler is using the same Wayne tech to blackout Gotham that Bruce himself used to make the Bay symbol blackout.
It's a very good story that should please just about anybody. There were a couple of off moments, (Bruce survives a huge explosion from point blank range...again, Batman turns off power to vital Gotham needs injuring countless people just to make a statement, Bruce is a bit too chatty) but as a whole, this was a great read.