As I mentioned in my American Vampire review, both of Scott Snyder’s comics this week share just a tad of thematic similarity in the concept of humans getting too close to things and getting bitten in the ass because of it. Commissioner Gordon’s aware of this folly, however, and reveals this to Dick. It’s a moment, by the way, which features some of the best cartooning I’ve seen from Jock. He draws Gordon so tiny, surrounded by vast negative space, when he utters the words, “It’s my son. He’s back in Gotham.”
There are a lot of splash pages in this comic. What I really mean by that is there are a lot of pages formatted like splash pages, in that they don’t have a panel grid, but Jock just takes that empty space and runs with it, utilizing that terrific design sense of his that you see on all his great covers. The two actual splash pages in this comic aren’t all that impressive, despite being memorable images in the script. What works best is when Jock himself draws a splash page of Gotham, and then puts Dick soaring high above it, jumping down through individualized panels. The last page is a splash, but Jock clutters it to hell, puts the craziest image of Batman in the background, and formats a scenario involving collapsing cars to look pure biblical. When not drawing splash pages, Jock takes Snyder’s dialogue scenes and formats panels in extremely wide cinematic shots, and stacks them all on top of each other. It’s a bizarre effect, but it works.
Snyder opens this new arc well by further propelling the mission statements he began on: detective work and Dick’s past. He even introduces a new villain and leaves Dick’s life in jeopardy by the end. Jock’s more impressive than ever. I think this is the best interior artwork we’ve seen from him.