It’s unusual perhaps that a creature as driven by anger and coldblooded vengeance as the Batman should inspire so much warmth in those who follow his adventures as well as those who create them. But throughout their four-and-a-half year tenure on DC’s monthly Batman comic, writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo have had little time for the usual. Instead, the former American Vampire scribe and one-time Spawn penciller have crafted a book that’s not only the most acclaimed of the New 52 titles, but one that’s given them a reputation as, arguably, the most successful creative team to chronicle the Dark Knight’s adventures since Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers’ acclaimed run in the 1970s.
But alas, all good things must end. And so with Capullo’s contracted term nearing its close, the two have elected to—at least for the time being—end their run. In a move, however, that’s sure to delight their fans, they’ve remained true to form in concluding their saga, and concocted a final tale that serves as a love letter to the character and his city, and a thank-you to fans.
“I’ve never seen an issue that just gives Bruce a quiet night,” says Snyder. “I thought, ‘Maybe there’s a way to do it and create some suspense. Make it celebratory and make it more of a meditation on not just what the run has been for us but what the fans have meant and how they really are the city in many ways.’”
Snyder’s devised a story that finds a blackout engulfing Gotham, convincing Batman that an attack has been orchestrated by his deadliest enemies. But as the tale progresses, and he begins investigating the cause of the power outage, his worst fears fail to materialize.
In the course of his investigation, Batman stumbles upon a handful of familiar faces. Giving Capullo an opportunity to draw some of his favorite Batman characters one last time. “It was a good time for us,” says Capullo. “A walk down memory lane for the team. It was about having some relaxed fun for a change.”
Incorporating cameos from the Court of Owls (whom Snyder and Capullo created for Batman #1) and the inmates of Arkham Asylum, Batman #51 also gives a hug and a handshake to the writers and artists who will follow the two gentlemen. In Snyder’s words, it “puts the toys back in the box for the next person.”
“Batman’s stronger and faster than he’s ever been,” says the scribe, “and Alfred is restored and the villains are all in place. For the most part it sets everything up for the next team.”
While Snyder will next launch All-Star Batman and Capullo is illustrating a top secret project for writer Mark Millar, the two have by no means ruled out working together once more on the character with whom they’ve become most closely identified. Snyder, in fact, already has a story in mind, featuring—you guessed it—the Court of Owls.
“That’s one that I’d love to do with Greg,” he admits. “I wouldn’t want to do that without him.”
Until then, fans can savor what will remain for the foreseeable future the duo’s final tale of the Caped Crusader. Like all good love letters, it prompts both smiles and sadness. Using Gotham itself as a metaphor for the work the two have done and the affection it’s generated in its audience.
“It’s been our city for a while together with them,” says Snyder with a tear in his voice. “I hope that’s palpable.”
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Images: DC Entertainment