Batman #43 Review: The Bruce And Nothing But The Bruce


It’s usually not ideal when the title character in a comic book is relegated to secondary status in any particular issue. Of course even the question of who’s the headliner in the current arc of Batman is very much open for debate. Is it Batman, even though that role is currently being filled by Jim Gordon? Or is it Bruce Wayne, the original Dark Knight who’s shown up very much alive in the “Superheavy” arc?

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo spend a sizable chunk of Batman #43 on Bruce, and that’s not surprising given what he’s been through during and after “Endgame.” We get real answers here, too, where other teams might have dragged out the mystery a while longer. No worries about a repeat of “Zero Year.”

That alone would make this issue worth the read, but there’s so much more packed in. Consider:

  • An appearance by Superman, and one of the more extensive conversations I remember between the Man of Steel and Alfred.
  • A touching look into Alfred’s true feeling for Bruce.
  • A fight scene that involves modified sharks.
  • The Jim Gordon Batman in action without the aid of his mech suit.
  • The first hints that Gordon realizes that working outside the system is a feature of the Batman concept, and not a bug.
  • A classic Batman villain, interacting with new baddie Mr. Bloom.
  • One heck of a last page reveal.

From a list like that, you can tell that Snyder is giving Capullo as many different elements as he can handle, but we know he’s up to the task. The brief fight scene is good, and the final two pages are representative of the visual terror we’ve experienced throughout this team’s run, but the real gems here are the interactions: Jim and Bruce, Alfred and Bruce (in flashback, given the proper dreamlike quality) Alfred and Clark. Capullo might not get enough credit for moments like these.

You can see the outline of a path to the conclusion of “Superheavy,” but the twists and turns that surely still await are likely to be great. With next issue promising similar revelations about Mr. Bloom, you definitely don’t want to jump off this ride right now.


Three Things to Ponder

  1.  You have to wonder, given the comic book-plausible explanation of what happened to Bruce, if there’s a kinder, gentler Joker wandering around Gotham City somewhere.
  2. I like the fact that Bruce never considered trying to clone himself was a bad idea, he just never finished his machine. Good thing, probably.
  3. Think Capullo was exercising some of the muscles he used to draw some of Spawn’s enemies for that final page?

Favorite Moment

I’m pretty sure Superman never, ever thought he’d have the old “pull out the kryptonite ring” trick pulled on him by Alfred — and what kind of grapefruits does it take to do that anyway? Sure, he did it only to illustrate a point, but damn …

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