Batman: The Black Mirror
by Scott Snyder; illustrated by Jock and Francesco Francavilla
(DC Comics, 2011, 304 pages)
This collection of Batman comics (Detective Comics #871-881) reads a lot like a hard-boiled detective story. Bruce Wayne is retired, and Dick Grayson – who was formerly Robin and then Nightwing – has now taken on the identity of Batman. Together, he and Commissioner Gordon must discover who is acquiring and auctioning off chemical weapons used by Gotham City’s notorious villains. The mystery becomes personal when Gordon’s estranged son shows up in Gotham just as a wave of violence reaches its peak.
The artwork in this volume is excellent, and the mystery holds together pretty well. I really enjoyed the way that some of the artwork called back to the look of the older Batman comics. The action sequences were drawn well and were easier to follow than some of the graphic novels I’ve read. Dick Grayson is a more compassionate and less cynical batman than Bruce Wayne. The story is still dark, but Grayson’s Batman resists giving into the darkness. I would definitely like to read more of Scott Snyder’s Batman comics.