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Back in 2012 DC Comics relaunched all their titles in what they called the New 52. It was a chance for people who had never read comics or stopped reading them to be able to jump right back in. Batman being one of them.
Batman was being written by award winning Scott Snyder and penciled by Greg Capullo. Capullo better known for drawing Spawn back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I remember Capullo’s work but I never read Spawn so I was not sure what to expect. I was blown away by Capullo. No wonder he and Snyder have been behind two of the best DC stories arcs to come out of the New 52. The Court of Owls and Death of the Family.
In the first issue of the New 52 Batman you are greeted by Gotham itself which Capullo does a great job making look gothic, cursed and dangerous. Turn the page and Capullo gives you a classic comic book spread. Before you are ten iconic villains all after Batman of course. The next pages are a joy to read and look at. There is something very 90s about the whole thing for me. You know, the “Big Brawl.” Lots of characters swinging, jumping and all kinds of crazy posing. I just remember that in the 90s when Image comics first came out most of the books were these “super hero teams.”
Bloodstrike, Cyberforce, WildC.A.T.S., Wetworks, Youngbloods, etc. I don’t know why but it’s what I was reminded of reading the first couple pages of the Batman and this ridiculous fight scene…except Batman is ripping everyone a new one…literally in Clayface’s case. It great super hero fun.
Capullo was only getting warmed up though. A nice way of easing you in for what’s to come. In the last 4 pages of this issue Batman meets up with Harvey Bullock at a crime scene. There is a gratuitous shot of Batman flying in the Gotham air with a cloud of bats nearby. Very overt but then he emerges out of the shadow behind Bullock. He’s not surprised by Batman’s stealthy arrival. I wonder if that was done on purpose. It seemed like a joke. Then things get serious real quick on the next page.
An almost naked, completely dead, John Doe is covered in small antique throwing knives that are pining him to the wall. The scene is straight out of the movie SEVEN. I had to check the cover of the book to makes sure I was still reading Batman. It was not gory as much as it was creepy. Unsettling and real. Capullo was putting so much realistic detail into all his panels that I had not noticed until now. Paint spatters on the wooden floor that you could hear creaking. The panel looks so dank and dirty. I could smell the foul mix of paint chemicals and rot while Harvey gave Batman the low down of the homicide scene. Of course this scene is not without it’s cliche. Batman smells one of the walls is covered in paint thinner. He takes Harvey’s cigar and lights the wall with it to reveal a fiery message. Instead of putting out the fire they both walk off for dramatic effect. I guess they’re not worried about destroying evidence or property?
Safe to say I was hooked. Capullo was now one of my favorties and the man did not disappoint. He just kept getting better and better. There is a bike scene in issue two where Capullo shows off flawless perspective and sense of dimension to a vehicle that does not exist but looks like it could. Later on the fight scene with the assassin is gorgeous as well. But it gets better.
Issue 5 will literally have you reading in circles. I don’t know who’s genious idea it was but it’s a treat to read as you and Batman start to go mad!
We have not even gotten to Death of the Family! Issue 13 Capullo is on fire. He knows the characters so well that everything is his panels are so rich and animated. When the Joker shows up to collect his face from the GCPD (yep Joker had is face sliced off) and Capullo manages to scare us again. You never see the Joker. Only glimpses of him. When Joker cuts the power to the building all you see is Gordon’s terrorized face. In pitch black Joker goes around snaping necks and toying with Gordon. I was freaked reading this. The entire story arc is one of the best.
Capullo has his own style that is abit cartoonish or what you’d expect from a comic book. But Capullo is a master he mixes in heavy details that transform the world into something frightful. It feels so real you think Capullo actually lives in Gotham and these are his sketches. Batman never looked so great. I hope he and Snyder never split up. Together they seems to know how to mix drama, terror and action very well. It’s a perfect match and it’s made me a big Greg Capullo fan.
All the images used are property of DC Comics and their creators.
I’ve been a designer for 15 years. I love creating & sharing. So, I’m hoping this site is a place to help me do both. I do freelance work as well. If you’re interested in what I can do, please take a look at my portfolio.
I started out years ago in print and have now designed in several mediums; including interactive experiences, as well as video and motion graphics.