Things get personal for our heroes as Dick Grayson continues to get to grips with Gotham in Bruce Wayne’s absence.
Batman: The Black Mirror is a collected edition of Detective Comics #871-#881 and Chronicles Dick Grayson’s times as Batman while Bruce Wayne is missing following the events of the Final Crisis (which I have not read at time of writing). In this modern classic Dick Grayson, James Gordon and Oracle deal with the ever present danger that Gotham is accustomed to, however, this time things get very personal for everyone involved. This is self contained story arc and highly recommended for anyone who enjoys Batman comics especially those who prefer the investigations over the action.
Batman: The Black Mirror Review
I am a big fan of Dick Grayson, not so much as Robin but more so during his time as Nightwing and Batman, this played a big part in my decision to buy this book over some of the others that were in the store at the time. Originally released in 2011 I acquired the collected edition which combines the two main storylines between the events of The Dealer, Sonia Zucco and finally, James Gordon Jr. The title ‘The Black Mirror” becomes more apparent with the conclusion of the latter story arc.
There are also elements of nostalgia in the book – especially a famous crowbar from the times of Jason Todd as well as a cameo from the man himself…no, not Todd – The Joker.
There are three books rolled into one here, ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Skeleton Key’ and ‘Hungry City’ and all three flow very well when one ends and another begins. You will be able to clearly see the visual differences between them but in terms of plot line, pacing and overall atmosphere they move along excellently. As someone who buys collected editions rather than weekly issues I’ve often read some that can become disjointed at time, such as in Knighfall but this is definitely not the case with the Black Mirror and all three ‘books’ really fit together perfectly.
This is a solo Batman storyline with no appearance from Damian’s robin and somewhat of a cameo from Tim Drake’s Red Robin, however with events that will become clear with a read yourself; James Gordon and Oracle are heavily involved – the trio of main characters helps to bring to the surface the effects that Gotham City have had on each of them and how Gotham can reflect back – Dick Grayson’s personality really comes to the surface in The Black Mirror and shows the full force of how a life of crime fighting can affect a person – even a professional, trained and strong willed one such as Grayson.
What becomes obvious is no matter how much Dick Grayson, Oracle and James Gordon have seen they are still not immune to the damage that just being in Gotham city causes. Not only that, but it makes you think of how Bruce Wayne may have kept some of the darkness out…or caus
ed it himself in the City.
In the past I’ve found that many of the more modern Batman books have focused much on the action and art of a book and can overlook the storyline (most recently I have found this in some of the Deathstroke books) and the deep social relationships between the characters but Scott Snyder, as he usually does, gets it absolutely spot on. The plot line is well paced and you never wish for a certain bit to come to an end. This isn’t my first Snyder book and it certainly won’t be my last.
The artwork in The Black Mirror is rich with dark tones such as reds, blacks and greens with mostly reds, possibly to let the reader know where there is danger and where there is…a little less danger. The artists for The Black Mirror are Jock and Francesco Frankavilla with the colouring done by David Baron and Francavilla again. The artwork itself I found to be excellent with plenty of detail for the characters showing emotions and damage caused by the events, the panelling keeps up with the pace of the storyline with vertical, horizontal and half to full page images from time to time. However, it is the colouring that I found to be outstanding in the Black Mirror – when the action got going it was explosive but at times of investigation and conversation you can find pages using only a few colours to great effect – particularly in area where James Gordon was heavily involved in.
Batman: The Black Mirror is one of the better collected books out there and Scott Snyder continues to show us why he’s one of the best writers around. A compelling storyline that always keeps the reader guessing and excellent art and colours make this an essential purchase for any Batman fans particularly those who enjoy the investigative storylines.