Batman #34 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

A murderer is lurking in the shadows of Gotham and his intentions are not to be noticed or to display his sinister leanings to the public. He wishes to be no one and in doing so begins to eliminate other lonely, invisible people. Patients of a Gotham doctor are targeted and as the killer piles their bodies in graves that garner no attention, Batman shuts out all distractions to focus on one thing he can change in his city. He calls himself the Meek and soon Batman will make his name known.

Fresh off the blockbuster Zero Year storyline in Batman, Scott Snyder returns along with the help of Gerry Duggan, writer of Deadpool, The Hulk and contributor to the Nerd Poker podcast (RIP El Ryan), to tell a one and done detective story that stands alone in the series. Paralleling some of the current Batman Eternal continuity, The Meek, is a chase between a murderer who wants to remain in the shadows and an overwhelmed hero who simply wants to set aside the heap of problems that can’t be extinguished immediately to instead accomplish one act that will change Gotham for the better as soon as possible. This independant tale can be enjoyed by any fans of the character and anyone interested in a full story that goes into some very dark places. Zero Year was a spectacular chapter in the series but it is nice to come off that ride with an episodic style crime case that plays out entirely in one issue.

Black Science’s Mateo Scalera handles the art in the Meek and his work is phenomenal. My favorite aspect of different artists rotating or guesting in Batman comics has always been seeing the plethora of interpretations of the Bat Cave and Scalera’s double page spread of the lair is excellent. Dark and dank you really get the feeling of an underground dwelling where a sociopathic billionaire would play with his toys and of course getting to see either the giant penny of the T-rex is an automatic win for me so Scalera’s dino in the corner made me smile. Another double page spread that delivers the conceit of the issue, being that Batman needs to do something immediate to help Gotham in the midst of all the continuity chaos, Mateo Scalera draws a staple of Batman comics in the dark knight flying into the night, spread out displaying his scowl, cowl and cape and it is a truly beautiful page. His paint splatter touches to so much of his artwork is a really great addition as well. I saw the solicit of the Mateo Scalera cover for this issue months ago in Previews but to see it in your hands is really satisfying. A panicked Batman hulking over a graveyard in the foreground all beautifully drawn and coloured makes for a really captivating cover.

A quick, dark chase story is the perfect way to compliment a year long story arc like Zero Year and Gerry Duggan, Scott Snyder and Mateo Scalera have delivered it in Batman #34. Be sure to pick it up whether you are a follower of the main series or a casual reader who simply wants a cool Batman read.

Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior

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