“Batman, Vol. 8: Superheavy” (Batman Vol. II #8)

Batman, Vol. 8: Superheavy (Batman Vol. II #8) written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by: Greg Capullo, Danny Mikki, Jock, and Brian Azzarello

Published by: DC Comics on March 16, 2016

Review Source: Publisher, Edelweiss

Genres: Graphic Novels, Comics, Superheroes

Plot: Superheavy picks up right where End Game left off. Gotham is reeling from Joker’s last attack and the loss of the Batman. In an effort to reestablish some semblance of order, a large corporation has roped Jim Gordon into becoming the new Batman, complete with a robo-batsuit and geek squad.

Review: First things first: There is only one true Batman and his name is Bruce Wayne. Any die-hard fan of the Bat will tell you so. When Snyder killed off Bruce Wayne in End Game I had a small heart attack and immediately hit the internet to see if his dirt nap was final. Once my faith in humanity (and Scott Snyder, sorry I ever doubted you, good Sir) was restored, I took a deep breath and decided that I had enough faith in Snyder as a writer to let him kill the Bat. I intentionally approached this story arc with an open mind, and reminded myself that this wasn’t the fist time the cowl has passed to another (seven other times to be exact). I’m sure Bruce will be back, so why not enjoy the ride? And I did…

Between battles where Gordon is learning to be Batman we check in on Bruce Wayne, and it isn’t pretty to see what he has turned into. He didn’t die, but he has a newly smoothed brain that basically made him forget how to be Batman. We see Alfred school Clark Kent on Bruce’s new weakness and watch Bruce work his day job working at a boys and girls home. We see him lamenting to his girlfriend about how he’s changed. It’s awful. That’s not the Batman. You start to give up hope. You start to think that maybe this really is the end.

Except that Snyder gives us two possibilities for a bat resurrection. The first is the possibility that Bruce will perfect this cloning machine that was shown to us previously in Batman Detective Comics, Vol 5, thus providing Bruce with a way to grow new Batmans. The second, and more personally enjoyable option, is that the knowledge and memories that Bruce needs to be Batman are still in there. We see hints of this when Bruce gets angry about the Joker and how the kids are still spooked by the sight of End Game’s aftermath. We see that his protective instincts are still strong, even without his memories, and that somewhere in there is a dash of rage. Also, Bruce can still talk, function like a grown adult, and build lightening-fast dinosaur slides, all of which are indications that he didn’t forget everything, so maybe there is hope. Maybe his brain just isn’t done healing yet! It’s enough to keep me going with this series, and I like that I feel so worried and excited to see the outcome. It isn’t easy to breathe new life into a character with a seventy-five legacy, but Snyder is doing it. One of the reasons I love Snyder as a writer, is that he isn’t afraid of change, and with a literal “blank slate”, he can now push the boundaries in any direction.

That direction is towards a new villain, Mr. Bloom, a character entirely garbed in a black skin suit whose only embellishment is a yellow sunflower on his face. Lame? Only until he busts out giant claw and starts impaling people. You have my attention, Mr. Bloom, and I don’t care if people think you’re a pansy.

So why are people hating this so much? The answer: Jim Gordon. I won’t lie, I’m not a fan of Gordon being Batman, and I think it mostly has to do with the sudden changes he undergoes. He doesn’t look like Jim Gordon. The mustache and glasses are gone, he looks younger, a thousand times more muscular, and rocks a weird Mohawk. Throw in a robot bunny suit, and it becomes a bit much. He doesn’t feel like Jim Gordon, so it made his struggle to be come Batman feel disingenuous. There is also the fact that his qualifications are a bit lacking. The cowl has always been passed to someone who at least has the training to pull it off, and while Gordon is an awesome cop, he didn’t go to superhero school. The only saving grace is that Snyder openly addresses this throughout the storyline, and honestly Gordon doesn’t get that much air time. It left me with the impression that he is merely trying to hold it down for now, and not necessarily replace Bruce Wayne.

Overall, I think this will all pan out into something worthwhile, but it will require a bit of patience.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Who Should Snag This: Anyone who is currently following Snyder’s run will want to give this volume a shot.

*I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

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