I mostly really like Snyder’s Batman run, but there is one reoccurring problem that keeps bothering me. His stories are dark, gritty and more realistic than most. His Batman is a detective and also more human and flawed. But every so often he throws in some more traditional comic book moments and they really clash.
For example, the first storyline features Dick Grayson, former Robin, filling in as Batman hunting down a villain called The Dealer. The story is less fantastic than other Batman tales, with splashes of horror, as in a dream/nightmare sequence. It’s all going well until the traditional showdown when, suddenly Batman turns up in some flying Bat-armour and The Dealer mutates into a monster. Which rather takes you out of the tale.
Snyder follows up The Black Mirror with The Court of Owls storyline, which is also a great story. The Court of Owls and their agent, the Talon, are great creations. And although they in no way ruin a great story, Snyder does two things, the second of which is similar to the problem with The Black Mirror. First, halfway through the story multiple Talons are introduced, which really takes away from the original. But the big issue I had was in the final part, which in this case has a character wearing a robotic flying battle suit which feels very out of place.
I feel though, with this moaning, that I should say that I enjoy the more fantastic worlds and characters portrayed in comics – it’s just sometimes the combination of the real and fantasy does not quite work. I also don’t want to come across as disliking Snyder’s Batman because it’s great. And I really liked Year Zero, his most recent Batman story. And I think it’s because he embraced the crazy. I mean, at one point Batman fights Lions! And it works! By starting his story fully embracing the more ridiculous aspects of Batman (and comics) means that when something that may be far-fetched happens, suspension of belief is not stretched past breaking point.
Because, if we are all being honest, we obviously want to see Batman fighting lions. We just want it to be believable.