Overview

BF Awards 2012 - Best Ongoing Series: Batman

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The Caped Crusader has enthralled comic book readers with stories of the Dark Knight Detective foiling crimes committed by everyone from gritty underworld kingpins to Gotham City’s freaks that have claimed the city as their own. But perhaps not since the very first issues of Detective Comics and the series proper have fans been so gripped by a title as that of DC Comics’ revamp of Batman, and it’s due to the truly Dynamic Duo of writer Scott Snyder and illustrator Greg Capullo.

Leaping from the pages of Batman #1 the way Bruce Wayne leaped off of Gotham Tower for the first time caped and cowled, Snyder and Capullo launched us into “The Court of Owls,” possibly the most original story arc since some of the more classic Bat-tales of the late 1960s and 1970s, in which our dark hero confronts a host of owl-masked miscreants like a nightmare out of Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. The Court ultimately pushes Batman to his limits in a way we’ve never seen before. They are ultimately are defeated, of course, but not before they can unleash an entire legion of Talons –– unstoppable assassins bred and brainwashed to do the Court’s bidding and wreak havoc on all of Gotham City.

On the heels of a mind-blowing “Court of Owls” conclusion, Snyder and Capullo decide to top what they did in this premiere story arc of Batman volume two and re-introduce to the series a terrifying reimagining of the most disturbed of all of Batman’s enemies –– The Joker! This team’s rendition of the man who smiles evokes the best of Brian Azzarello’s one-shot and Heath Ledger’s immortal portrayal in The Dark Knight, but also lends itself beautifully to its own brand of horror, abhorrence, and sheer nightmare, twisting Batman’s arch-nemesis even further beyond the realm of what any reader thought possible. “Death of the Family” will be a story arc that readers will talk about for years, right up there with “A Death in the Family” and Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke; and it seems to me that The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told will need yet another printing to make room for this masterpiece.

While nearly all of the titles in the New 52 lineup have fizzled out for me, including all the ones that make up the Bat-Family of books, Batman remains the only one I make a special trip to the comic book store to get my hands on. From a frighteningly detailed character development to the borderline surreal nature of some of Capullo’s paneling and artwork, Batman is a book that consistently pleases. And let’s not forget issue #5, which put every reader in a state of confusion while we twisted and turned the book around in our hands –– and completely upside down, too –– creating one of the most interactive reading experiences I’ve ever known, not only disorienting us, but also pitting us deep inside the slowly shattering mind of our most beloved hero during one of the most tense battles in the Batman’s history.

That issue alone would have been enough to warrant Batman this BF award for “Best Ongoing Series,” but with the kind of story finesse and skill with words that Scott Snyder shows in this and all of the other titles he writes, and the painstakingly detailed artwork that manifests from Greg Capullo’s pencils, who knows into what other dank corridors this creative team will lead us. All I know for certain is that, like a squad of Batmen and -women, we’ll all follow our scallop-caped leader to the ends of Gotham City and beyond.

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