Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run of Batman has been mind-bending, heart wrenching and enthralling. They introduced one of the supposed oldest organizations in Gotham, killed The Joker (TWICE) and placed Jim Gordon behind the cowl. Though my Bat-Bias is rather apparent, no matter your interest or your overall disapproval of the DC Comic’s New 52 reboot, Batman has been one of the most enticing and exciting books on the current market. But changes are on the horizon.
In August 2015, rumors began circulating about a ‘change of the guard’ after Capullo tweeted his response to whom he would be willing to pass on the Bat-gauntlet. His response was rather specific: Snyder’s Wake (Vertigo Comics) co-creator/artist, Sean Murphy. Social media forums took this small statement and twisted it like a game of telephone. “Could this be the end of Capullo? Does that mean Snyder will be leaving too?”
The answer, at the time, was a vehement “No”. But that did not stop the whispers.
During a Batman Panel hosted by Capullo and Snyder at 2015’s New York Comic Con, it was announced that Capullo would be taking a short leave of absence to collaborate with comics-mega-star, Mark Millar, on a mini-series in the summer of 2016. His “temporary” replacement? Sean Murphy.
The promises that Snyder would continue and Capullo would return to Batman remained stead-fast through the end of 2015. Yet statements began changing shortly after the beginning of the New Year. With the accidental early press release of DC Comic’s Rebirth event (hitting the market this summer) it became more and more clear: as of issue #51 will be Capullo’s final issue and Snyder is only scheduled through #52.
BATMAN #51 is like a quiet love letter to Gotham – nothing big or crazy. Just the hallmarks fro @GregCapullo to draw for an encore!
— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) February 18, 2016
— Greg Capullo (@GregCapullo) February 14, 2016
The fan response has been on the heavier side. And many found themselves taking a long look back on the brilliant, New York Times Bestselling series:
Batman: The Court of Owls, The City of Owls (Vol 1–2)
The Court of Owls was nothing more than a bedtime story. A long-lost tale, twisted and retold, to scare children at night. But what if they were real? After Dick Grayson is fingered as the prime suspect in a murder investigation, Batman takes it upon himself to find the truth. But his sleuthing digs up more than a little blood in his own family history. He digs up dark and murderous truths in Nightwing’s past. As well as how deep the Court’s talons grip into the city of Gotham.
Suggested Additional Reading – Batman: The Night of Owls – The Court of Owls has brought the war to Gotham and it is up to Batman and his allies to stop them. (The book includes issues from Nightwing, Birds of Prey, Catwoman, Batwing and others.)
Batman: Death of the Family (Vol 3)
The Joker is back. In the worst way. He has killed, threatened and tortured those closest to Batman. But that was in the past. He has developed a new skill set. A face is just a face. Until it isn’t anymore. He even practiced on himself. Now, using some of the most dastardly methods to date, Joker invites Batman to a psychologically thrilling and maniacally planned dinner. The main dish? Batman’s entire family.
Suggested Additional Reading – Joker: Death of the Family – The entire family is invited to the party. But Joker has more than just hors d’oeuvres and fine cuisines planned for the evening. (Similar to The Night of Owls, Joker’s story includes issues from Red Hood and the Outlaws, Teen Titans, Batgirl and others.)
Batman: Zero Year (Vol 4–5, and part of Graveyard Shift, Vol 6)
Before The Joker, before Robin and even before the Batcave, there was a sad little boy. One who lost his parents and was driven into a state of vengeance. Under a cloak of secrecy, Bruce Wayne built up a persona of vigilantism. A shadow that meant to rid the city of the corrupt. Through fighting against those of the Red Hood Gang or saving the town after being plunged into ruin by The Riddler, The Batman was born.
Suggested Additional Reading – DC Comics Zero Year – Batman’s tale was not the only one to surface during the Riddler’s reign over a devastated Gotham city. The stories of some of DC’s best and brightest are only just beginning. (The Zero Year special includes issues from Detective Comics, Action Comics, Green Arrow and more.)
Batman: Endgame (Vol 7)
There were rumors that he did not actually die. Or worse… That he cannot die at all. The Joker has returned to Gotham. And this time he comes, not only with a new face, but with presents. For all of Gotham. Introducing a mind-altering “Joker Virus”, Joker attacks not only with the entire city, but with the Justice League as well. Joker is not playing games anymore. It is time for The Batman to die.
Suggested Additional Reading – Joker: Endgame – Joker’s virus is spreading like wildfire. From Arkham to Burnside it is infecting any and all of Gotham’s citizens. And Batman cannot fight the hordes alone. (The special includes the Endgame tie-ins from Batgirl, Arkham Manor, Gotham Academy and Detective Comics.)
Batman: Superheavy (Vol 8)
The hardcover will hit shelves on March 16th.
The Batman is dead. But his blanket of fear must remain over the streets of Gotham. It is time for a new Bat to rise. And the Gotham City Police Department know exactly how to keep the rouse. A police trained and sanctioned Batman: Jim Gordon.
One question I get frequently from customers, “What books are so good that you would pick it up and read it more than once?” Well, looking back on the convoluted trip that Batman has had since his New 52 debut in September 2011, absolutely Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder’s Batman. And I have.
Even with the ups-and-downs of DC’s New 52 reboot, Batman has stayed a strong contender in the industry. Snyder and Capullo have written/drawn the character into several unexpected corners. They have mixed him so deep in conspiracy he did not know which way was up. And more than one they have brought him back from the brink of death only to be throw him right back. They made the brave, and highly questionable, decision to have Jim Gordon take up the mantle as the caped (well not really) crusader. And they took the skeptics by storm.
They will be sorely missed. With the reveal that their final issue with be Batman #51, it is not the time for fans to mourn, but to rejoice in the time we have left and reflect on the stories they shared with us. And we should look forward to a future. Not only from the future creative Batman team, but for continued collaboration between Capullo and Snyder in the future.
Also, just handed brother @GregCapullo out final issue of Batman together (#51 – April). Big future plans together but still, bittersweet
— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) February 20, 2016
For those looking forward to the still unnamed mini-series from Greg Capullo and Mark Millar, watch for the April 6th release of Millar’s upcoming series, Empress #1. In which there will be a teaser poster debuting the BIG name.
— Mark Millar (@mrmarkmillar) February 17, 2016
And Snyder? After over five years on Batman, he would not simply walk away. Or at least that is what the rumors suggest. According to whispers, Snyder will be returning to Detective Comics, continuing his story of Jim Gordon-Bat. But these are only rumors. But we are crossing our fingers. Never know, with very few official creative team announcements, DC’s Rebirth event may bring some surprises.
Never said I was taking Detective https://t.co/PzLWmpZdi3
— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) February 20, 2016
At this time, from a fan, a HUGE thank you to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Thank you, so much, for the adventure!