Batman #41 marks a new age for Gotham City. Unlike previous times where Bruce Wayne has disappeared we are not getting someone from the Batman Family that’s picking up the mantle of the Batman. This time around Jim Gordon has been picked to pick up the mantle of DC Comics greatest hero. How will the long standing member of Batman’s supporting cast do as Gotham’s new Dark Knight. Let’s find out with Batman #41.
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Inker: Danny Miki
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere in a Gotham City park an unknown person is sitting on a bench while another person is speaking on Geri Powers quote of who Gotham is in a constant battle of choices that shape the city.
Elsewhere an energy monster is attack various Gotham buildings. Commissioner Sawyer and the GCPD aren’t sure how to handle the energy monster. Suddenly a blimp flies overhead and shines a light on the monster.
Hanging just below the blimp is Jim Gordon in his new Batman armor. After getting some information on the monster from Julia Perry (Alfred’s daughter who is now working for Powers International) Batman dives at the monster. As he is diving towards the monster Jim is trying to get himself into a “Batman” mentality.
Batman lands right on top of the monster and the two begin to fight. Batman is quickly overpowered by the energy monster since physical attacks aren’t affecting it.
Flashing back to three months ago, Jim Gordon meets Geri Powers at a facility where they are training rookie cops to become the next Batman in the wake of the original’s disappearance after the Joker incident. Geri mentions that each of the selected rookies has a trait that may make them better suited to be the next Batman.
She then brings up the fact that those individual traits aren’t enough to be the right Batman. She says that Jim is the only man for the job because on top of all his experience no one knows Gotham City better than him. Even after hearing all that Jim turns down Geri’s offer to be the next Batman.
Back in the present, Batman does his best to fight the energy monster but is only able to go on the defense since none of his armor’s tech is affecting it.
Flashing back to a few months ago, Jim talks to Harvey Bullock about Geri’s offer. Harvey thinks that Jim was right in turning down her offer because of his age and the fact Jim is a cop at heart. Jim then wonders what Gotham would be like if Batman was someone that worked within the law and alongside the GCPD.
Harvey says that he knows the GCPD kind of dropped the ball with the Joker attack but that it shouldn’t mean Jim should take her offer. Before they can talk further one of the Batman recruit’s walks in and shows the two his newborn baby boy. After the recruit goes to his own corner of the roof Harvey takes Jim’s cigarette away and tells Jim that he’ll have to get lasik.
In the present, Batman is finally able to lock in on the person controlling the monster. Batman tells Julia and the others that the monster is an extension of a criminal named Precious Precious, who is a founding member of the Whisper Gang and is currently holding Dodger Valera hostage. Julia mentions that Dodger’s security was personally created by Bruce Wayne. Batman says that everyone is ignoring those alarms thanks to the monster’s attacks.
Flashing back to a few months ago, Geri shows Jim the new Batman armor suit and introduces him to Julia and Daryl Guiterrez, the two chief people working on the Power’s Batman project.
In the present Precious decides to finally take out Dodger with everyone distracted. Precious is suddenly disabled by Batman’s batarang. Batman appears in a new costume and sets Dodger free. (That’s Not Batman! It lacks the cape!)
Batman walks outside and back into his armor suit. Once inside he salutes the rest of the GCPD on scene.
Sometime later Jim gets back to his new apartment that was given to him by Powers International. He soon notices a big trench coat hanging on the wall with a note from Harvey.
At the park from earlier someone (Harvey Bullock?) walks past the unknown person. The guy identifies the person sitting on the bench as Bruce Wayne. End of issue.
The Good: Even as someone new steps into takeover the iconic mantle Batman #41 never strays from what Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have been doing during the course of their run. In continuing down the path that they’ve been in Snyder and Capullo were able to present us with a Gotham City that feels like an evolution the city.
Something that grabbed my attention right away was how Snyder decided to explore Jim Gordon’s acceptance of the Batman mantle. In many ways Jim acts as a conduit for the readers own thoughts on Batman. There is a lot questions that have been brought to the table once Jim was announced as the new Batman. It is in that own doubt that makes the transformation Jim goes through feel natural.
The doubt that Jim showed helped bring out what makes him a different Batman from Dick Grayson, Tim Drake or Jason Todd. At the core of his character Jim is a police officer. That is how we were originally introduced to him as and it’s something that has been continuously highlighted during the course of Snyder’s run. The flashback to Jim and Harvey’s talk on the roof reminds any reader that may have forgotten about this fact. The conversation between the two was a good way to transition into how Jim ended up defeating the energy monster by taking out its controller, Precious Precious.
The introduction of Precious Precious also helped flesh out what we can expect from Jim Gordon as Batman. Not only are we going to see Jim working closely with the GCPD but we are also going to get a chance to see the other dark corners of Gotham that Bruce and the others haven’t dealt with. Jim’s knowledge of the rest of Gotham’s gang will be something that helps elevate these previously unknown gangs as a real threat to Gotham City.
Looking into future issues I will be very interested in how Jim’s new role as Batman will affect his standing in the GCPD. Snyder did not hide that fact that the circle that knows who Batman is won’t be small. There are a number of people that know who is behind the armored cowl. With so many people having worked with Jim in the GCPD I am very interested in seeing how or if Jim will keep his new role a secret.
Geri Powers and Powers International involvement provides the story a wild card to keep an eye on. The fact that Powers Industries is behind this new Batman gives us an opportunity to spend time with the other prominent Gotham City company. Their involvement invokes a feeling that we may be seeing a Gotham City that is heading closer to the future we saw in Batman Beyond. The use of an energy monster for this first issue leads some credence to this as both Batman and Gotham will need even better tech to deal with the new threats that they are facing.
Speaking of Jim’s supporting cast, it was interesting to note that Alfred’s daughter is now working for Powers Industries and is on the new Batman’s support team. Julia joining Powers Industries gives us a nice little mystery as to what her motive for being part of the team. Last time we saw her she was still working for the Batman Family. Is her part on the team part of a bigger plan by Bruce, Alfred or another member of the Batman Family? Or is she working on her with her own motives? With a three month gap between Endgame and this issue there is a lot to learn about what happened during that gap.
Helping to elevate Jim Gordon’s evolution into the role of Batman was Greg Capullo’s fabulous artwork. With Snyder dedicating Batman #41 to how not only Jim accepts his new role but also the reader Capullo is able to show us how he fits the cowl. Seeing how Jim’s facial expression change as he goes from toying with the idea of being Batman to growing comfortable inside the cowl was something that I paid as much attention to as I did what was being said in each panel.
I also liked the Batman Beyond-esque costume that Jim was revealed to be wearing underneath the armor. Capullo and Snyder nicely timed the reveal as a surprise since as a reader I was more focused on growing to accept the Batman armor. Hopefully we get to see that the new Batman costume has its own advantages that Jim can use depending on the situation.
The Bad: The one problem I did have with Batman #41 was the fact that Snyder and Capullo are already teasing us with Bruce Wayne’s return. Even if the guy sitting at the park does not turn out to be Bruce I don’t like the fact that he is already being introduced as a player again. Batman: Endgame gave us a proper ending for Bruce Wayne for the time being.
But now that the idea of Bruce still being around has been thrown at us so soon it hurts how we can accept Jim as the new Batman. Just having the perception of Bruce returning to the cowl sooner rather than later makes it seem that Jim is just a placeholder. If Jim is going to have a successful run as Batman than there needs to be zero question that he is the one and only Dark Knight. Even if it’s for a short time Snyder should not dedicate time to Bruce’s involvement since it would only hurt how we see Jim as Batman.
Overall: Batman #41 started of the era of Jim Gordon as Gotham City’s newest Dark Knight on the right note. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo crafted this issue in a way that made it feel like we were reading a story on a new Gotham City. From how they evolved Jim into the role of Gotham’s new Batman to the development of the supporting cast everything worked together to make it easy to accept what was going on. The only thing that hurt this issue was Bruce Wayne’s role in the story. As long as Snyder and Capullo keep the spotlight on Jim Gordon and his version of Batman than this could be a great way to build on the legend of DC Comics most iconic character.