Three issues of Metal in and Scott Snyder and company finally give us a little clue as to what is going on with our Earth’s Batman, in this week’s one-shot that goes someway to giving credence to Snyder assertion that the Metal story has been on the radar for quite sometime.
In this issue we get to meet “Old Man Bruce”, although it is a different Bruce to the curmudgeon we are used to seeing in Batman Beyond. Here, he is surrounded by family and one particular precocious child (no not Martha before anyone says anything) wants to hear her favourite Bat story – “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate”. As Bruce begins the story, things don’t seem to add up, leading Bruce through his own history, from the Tribe of Bat, the bat that sparked the “cowardly and superstitious” speech all the way to his current predicament. All that is missing is the mask of Tengu and thankfully there is nary a piece of Batamanium to be seen.
This issue, like the Metals preludes, is a joint effort, both in writing and in art. Taking the writing first, we have the considerable talents of Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson. Between them they have a wealth of bat-history, with Williamson being the newest member of this particular trinity. Together they duck and weave through Batman’s history all the while giving little snippets away as too current affairs. In fact, you will enjoy the book more if you park your brain and just enjoy how the trio join the dots to fit their needs. It is the sort of Bat book that we have seen recently in the main Batman book. The difference is that Lost features a new interpretation of established facts where the recent War of Jokes and Riddles attempted to add some retro-continuity. Anyone who has read Zero Year will appreciate who difficult that can be.
As mentioned above, the art is also a committee type of affair with Doug Mahnke, Yannick Paquette and Jorge Jimenez on pencils with inker Jaime Mendoza helping out. I can understand the need for a different artist per section of the book, giving each part its own vibe. The shifts help keep the reader as off-balance as Batman himself, as we stumble, confused by the past and the changes and to some extent, the point! Of the artists on show, I am pleased to say it is something of a return to form for Doug Mahnke. The almost realities that Batman has too face are recognisable enough, if a little warped, which just adds to the fun. Colors are proved by Will Quintana, Nathan Fairbairn and Alejandro Sanchez who like the artists work their magic in a number of ways, including standard colouring, some aged effects and a painted scheme all add to the mystery.
The cynic in me wants to say that this book doesn’t deliver anything to the overall story. In fact it keeps the story in a holding pattern of sorts. But the comic fan in me is happy to see a solid mystery of sorts being applied to Batman, with the biggest one being, what does he see? This type of book is what Snyder excels at and with Tynion IV and Williamson added to the mix, the book works extremely well, even if by avoiding any real closure dooms us to more Metal mayhem over the next couple of months. I just hope that this book is a big hit for DC as there is a lot of creators that will need a paycheque for this one.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 4.5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Written by; Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV & Joshua Williamson
Art by; Doug Mahnke, Yannick Paquette & Jorge Jimenez with Jamie Mendoza
Colors by; Will Quintana, Nathan Fairbairn and Alejandro Sanchez
Published by; DC Comics