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Graphic Novel Review: "Batman: The Black Mirror" by Scott Snyder

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

The cover of "Batman: The Black Mirror."

The cover of "Batman: The Black Mirror."

Quick Info:

Author: Scott Snyder
Publisher: DC Comics
Published: November 29, 2011
Availability: Buy on Amazon or from your local bookstore, available on DCUniverse

Story Summary:

Batman: The Black Mirror shows off Dick Grayson’s detective skills as Batman when he goes after a mysterious man, called the Dealer, who sells crime-related memorabilia. Also, James Gordon Jr. returns to Gotham City, causing both Barbara and James Gordon Sr. to be suspicious, but what does he want?

A panel from the comic.

A panel from the comic.

Dick Grayson Is Interesting as Batman

Having Dick Grayson become Batman after the events of Batman: R.I.P. was a big deal back when this comic was published. Fans of Batman hoped that having Dick Grayson as Batman would be something good because people were wondering what would happen to Batman now that Bruce was “gone,” stuck in the past.

Dick Grayson is also different when he is Batman; he doesn’t really crack jokes, but he does talk more. He also isn’t as serious as Bruce is when he’s Batman.

What’s Interesting About This Story Is How It Ties Into Dick Grayson’s Past

I love how Scott Snyder also made one of the story villains, the Dealer, have ties to Dick Grayson because of his past as a Flying Grayson. It’s not a direct link like in Nightwing: Traps and Trapeze by Kyle Higgins, but it’s still an interesting aspect of the story.

The mystery of the Dealer was also very good.

James Gordon Jr.

James Gordon Jr.

Bringing Back James Gordon Jr. Is a Great Idea

For people wondering who James Gordon Junior is, he’s the Baby that Batman saved in Batman: Year One by Frank Miller.

I like the plot of this story; it’s not as action-packed as a lot of Batman stories, but it has a good plot and a great mystery and explores the background of the Gordon family.

I also like that they brought him back as an adult and that he’s not a copy-paste of his Father, James Gordon Sr.; he has his own character traits and personality that make him an interesting character.

There are also ties to his circus past that make the story interesting because of Tony Zuuco murdering his parents and now he’s investigating Tony Zucco’s daughter, Sonia.

The Art and Illustrations Are Very Nice

The illustrations by Jock and Francisco Francavilla are a different style, but it looks nice. This isn’t really an action-oriented manga, but it has a good atmosphere, and the style reminds me of Batman: Year One, even though this looks nicer than that book. I like the illustrations in this graphic novel.

The art looks really good, and I found it to be very appealing; I also liked the character designs.

The Court of Owls Is Hinted At

I love that the Court of Owls is hinted at, even though this was before the New 52 continuity reboot by DC Comics. It seemed Scott Snyder had planned on the cabal of villains becoming a part of a Batman story, and he just worked it into the Batman reboot.

Even though the group of villains doesn’t directly appear in the story, I do like that they were being set up. Their debut was in the Batman reboot for the New 52.

Age Rating

This comic is recommended for ages 13 and up due to language and violence.

It’s a Solid Mystery Story

I really enjoyed Batman: The Black Mirror and the interesting story and the mystery set up and how they reinvented a character that had basically been only seen in one comic.

I recommend this comic if you like a good mystery story, and if you liked Dick Grayson as Batman, you’ll definitely want to read this. If you enjoyed Batman: Year One and want to see more about the Gordon family, this is worth reading. I can get this from my local library for free, so I haven’t picked it up for my comic collection yet, but I probably will in the future. It’s worth buying if you like the story, but if you’re curious, just see if your local library has it.

Quick Summary

What Works:What Doesn't Work:

Good mystery story

It's a little slow.

Good illustrations

 

Good characterization

 

Final Grade: B

Batman: The Black Mirror is a fantastic mystery story that kept me interested and reinvigorated old characters and took Dick Grayson and made him a different kind of Batman than Bruce Wayne.

The story is well-written, and the plot was intriguing. Scott Snyder is a great writer, and I enjoy his writing. He set up some interesting ideas that were used in the New 52 DC Comics reboot.

Using James Gordon Junior as a villain is a great idea and ties back to Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One and gives us another interesting character to read about.

I highly recommend this story to anyone who wants an interesting Batman story with Dick Grayson as Batman. It’s very well done and has some great illustrations by Jock and Francisco Francavilla. The mystery is very well done; it has excellent characterization and great action scenes.

It’s a graphic novel I really found to be enjoyable, and even though I don’t have it in my personal collection, I still enjoyed borrowing it from the library. You should be able to find it on Amazon or at your local library if they let you borrow comic books. It’s well worth your time but not necessarily your money. It was a very well done mystery, and I enjoyed it a lot.

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