(Steve) Review of Batman #23
I hear echoes of Albert Camus and Louis Borges as the Red Hood lectures a battered and helpless Bruce Wayne in the flaming remains of his apartment.
“The randomness, the empty center. Stare into it and try to find meaning, you’ll go mad.” Camus could’ve written that – but it was Scott Snyder giving some tremendous depth to his incarnation of the Red Hood and flexing his writerly muscles in this philosophical and action-packed installment of Batman: Zero Year.
Snyder has done an incredible job with this villain. Its engrossing to try and see things from a villain’s perspective and Red Hood’s is a belief so common that it could easily be you or me beneath that mask. If you’ve ever been a few car-lengths behind a vicious auto accident, or if you’ve ever said “That could’ve been me…” You may be the Red Hood, and that is a brilliant feeling to take away from a comic book.
The villains aren’t the only ones who get their fair share of character development in this issue. Young Bruce Wayne continues down the path fate has drawn for him as he becomes Batman and we get a welcome but brief look into some more violence in Alfred’s past.
The artwork by this team continues to be great. While Capullo’s drawing is a little too Saturday-morning Cartoonish for my tastes, Miki takes a lot edge off with using dark colors and shading reminiscent of the film-noir era the World’s Greatest Detective was born out of.
Batman #23 is, in my not-so-humble opinion, the strongest showing of the Zero Year story arc so far and any fan of Batman or existential philosophy is doing their self a disservice by not picking it up while there may be some still around.
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