Batman: Volume 6: Graveyard Shift [The New 52] by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (graphic novel review)

With the opening announcement at the beginning to this sixth volume that the stories within are from different times in Batman’s career cross-connecting with his other titles released as graphic novels then, to my eyes, it tends to look a little messy. I know graphic novel releases are principally to gather title runs together but surely by now someone might have thought lets link stories as a timeline and sell that way as well as the traditional way.

The Batman stories this time come from Batman # 18-20; 28; 34 and Annual # 2 over a three year period. How much to say becomes awkward. Information is dropped in along the way from all of these including the lives of those who would become the three Robins and a mention of Bruce’s son, Damon, although we don’t actually see him. The fact that it is known that Wayne Enterprises is financing and providing the Batman with equipment must surely be something questionable? I mean, if that happened in our reality, aiding and abetting a vigilante would be a criminal offence. Then again, Commissioner Jim Gordon seems to turning a blind eye to that simply by going by the results. I was surprised to see Superman visiting Gotham City for one reason and then helping him on a mission. Batman still has some of his stupidities by not stopping to rest which makes him reckless and a danger to himself.

The most disturbing story is ‘The Meek’, the Batman is seeking a mass murderer whose victims belong to one doctor and the newly dead bodies are being buried in an old graveyard. The art by Matteo Scalera is raw but effective.

The final story is an opener for a ‘Batman Eternal’ story but looks like I might be giving that a miss seeing how many graphic novels there are and the cost for each treble what I paid here.

I’m going to look really old saying this but in the old days, cross-overs were a special occasion not a regular thing like they are now. With the lower prices, it wasn’t difficult to keep up with the entire Marvel or DC Universes as a matter of course. Now its expensive and manic, especially if you’re just tracking particular characters even amongst their own titles and, for the New 52, I’m not even sure how many Batman titles there are but far more than two. Yes, the creative teams have to be paid but the diminishing readership will keep dropping unless there is a better connection to them before they find the super-hero films out there or probably get there first and ignore their source. The super-hero films still feed off the creativity of the comicbooks and is the testing ground for any experiments, even if they are continually modifying for each generation now.

GF Willmetts

June 2024

(pub: DC Comics, 2014. page graphic novel softcover. Price: varies. ISBN: 978-1-4012-5753-8)

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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