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Editorial: Is it Time to Take the Reigns Away from Snyder?


(This writer want’s to preface this article with the fact that Endgame was a solid Batman story and if not in continuity would reach a pinnacle of comic books that has been seen by the likes of “The Dark Knight Returns” and many others. But alas this that is not the case. This arc was in continuity and that therefore the means for  very strong thoughts are to follow.)

 

SPOILERS ON

 

What the hell does Mark Doyle and Scott Snyder think they are doing? And even more importantly Scott Snyder has just proved to me that he doesn’t have one original bone in his body unless it has to do with making things incredibly bloody. And believe me I like bloody. But this is a friggin snuff film.

 

Scott Snyder stole from the greatest writers of the Joker with Death Of The Family. Instead of having the Joker do something original he decided it was okay to plagiarize other writers by making the Joker commit the same exact crimes he did before and then he called it his own story. I let it go in that story because using the Joker’s past crimes as a plot device actually fed that plot as opposed to being reductive. I thought that would be the end of the issue. (Pun not intended)

 

Then with this convoluted mess not only in it’s own right but because of Batman Eternal he stoops down to stealing from Morrison not once but twice in one issue. Just to be clear I am going to list off the stories that Scott Snyder straight up STOLE from to make this arc.

 

Contagion
The Last Laugh
No Man’s Land
Batman and Robin #16 Vol.1 (Morrison)
The Amazo Virus

 

It is one thing if you want to use inspiration to build a story or art in general. They say that the good ones borrow and the great ones steal. I think Snyder took that saying a little too seriously because what he has done in “killing” both Batman and The Joker and giving us yet again such a NON-Ending to a story is absolute madness. It is NONSENSE.

 

Batman and Robin #16Some may see me as a Morrison lover when I say this and you know what I am so I will even admit it. But more importantly I am a Batman fan. I love this character. I am only using Morrison as an example in this instance because he is the only person to ever actually also “KILL” Batman.

 

Add the fact that Snyder stole what amounts to in my eyes an iconic scene with the Joker dancing with a skeleton of a Wayne Family member on his parade floats from Morrison with the Joker in Batman and Robin V1 #16 doing something very similar it just adds insult to injury. I also think the final part with the note was a little bit too close to Batman taunting Doctor Hurt with the “Gotcha” note in that same issue. It all has a we have seemingly been here before vibe.

 

batman-and-robin-15-gotchaWith that said when Grant took this character to his craziest limits during RIP and ROBW he at least had the decency to put the toys back in the box by the time he was done. Everything at the very least made sense. DC even reigned him in when it came to leaving the fans in the dark about Bruce’s fate. (Which in that case I thought hurt the story. But come on. We all knew what the Omega Sanction was so we knew he was going to be okay.)

 

Even when Grant took specific scenes and used them in some cases as memories for entire issues or in some cases panels to explain how all of Batman over the past 75 years could be canon he did so while still building a fresh villain who had a fresh plot and a fresh motive to take on The Dark Knight.

 

Now I know for a fact I don’t have all the facts when I say that this isn’t what Snyder is doing as Snyder’s run isn’t over yet (and may be pretty good with Jim Gordon as Batman) but I think I should get a little bit of leeway because EVEN SNYDER HAS SAID HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING. That to me isn’t sexy, or daring, or thinking outside the box. It’s having NO BOX. Or even worse if he thinks writer’s are trapped in boxes that need escaping it’s having no actual strategy to get out of and back in said box until convenient.

 

This no limits idea of writing these days is becoming one of the worst tropes ever. Because it has devolved into that which is incredibly disrespectful. You can’t reinvent the wheel DC. You can’t rewrite the CLASSIC’s Scott Snyder. It’s one thing if you want to use history to make your story stronger like Morrison did. I would take the Batman RIP/ROBW saga over this any day as the 75th Anniversary story in which Scott built this up to be. Morrison found clever ways to make the entire history of Batman become canon no matter what Earth or Timeline it happened on and that was amazing.

 

Rehashing old storylines the way Snyder has is HACK work. It’s amatuer. It’s FAN FICTION. This REEKS of everything Scott Snyder has said in which he talks about how he just comes up with ideas and DC basically just blindly follows him.

 

AMAZO WAR Batman_Contagion_TPB_cover

 

Picking up from some of my earlier points in what I feel Snyder definitley lifted from liberally let’s take a look at The Amazo Virus. In this story the entire Justice League but Wonder Woman and Superman are effected by the Amazo Virus and also turn into sick version of themselves confined to hospital beds while a cure is attempted to be found. Sure in this story Batman actually was one of those characters. But the point still stands. Are we really supposed to believe that in such a short span of time the Justice League has had this many biological breaches?

 

It’s about as ridiculous as bringing Damian Wayne back and not explaining where the hell he was throughout the backside of Batman Eternal and this story in Endgame. Scott Snyder says he doesn’t like writing the character. I don’t think I really want a writer that doesn’t want to play with the toys he has been given but only the ones he likes especially when they are such pivotal pieces to the world you are in.

 

Let’s move onto other “Pre-New 52” stories with the first being “Contagion”. In this story a deadly disease called “The Clench” is spread upon Gotham and Batman is caught off guard by it and fails to be able to effectively fight it and he has to call in every available resource to find a cure. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

 

In “The Last Laugh” the Joker creates a specific kind of Joker venom that rains from the skies turning ordinary people into Jokerized versions of themselves as well as turning other heroes and villains that way. If you were wondering why it may have seemed sort of familiar when the Justice League showed up Jokerized you may have in the back of your mind been thinking about this story. Sure, it may have been different characters than the ones that showed up in Batman #35 but the trope exists.

 

Another commentary on “TLL” is after Nightwing severely beat the Joker to death after thinking he was able to kill yet another Robin, Batman showed up with Robin and revived him. Batman SAVED him yet again. He continuously fought against him yet never took his life even when it would have been the easier option. But Snyder’s arc at the last minute be it through sarcasm or otherwise Batman literally holds the Joker down as he bleeds out instead of making sure they both got out alive. And are we really supposed to believe that a Batman less than 10 years into his crusade is so jaded that he is ready to die let alone let the Joker die? Think about that for a moment. And then hit something. HARD.

 

Let’s move on from that and take a look at “No Man’s Land”. In that story the government refuses to help Gotham and then military quarantines Gotham City by first blocking off all entrances to and from the city and then to make sure no one can get in or out they blow the bridges. While Snyder may have stopped short of the latter part of that last sentence you see again within Batman #37 the military blocking anyone from getting in or out of Gotham instead of helping. Been there done that.

 

Joker_Last_Laugh_5 Batman_No_Mans_Land_Vol_4_TP

 

This isn’t the only story that Snyder used other people’s writing to either try and outwrite them and/or in the process undermine them completely but that is perhaps for another op/ed. What I am saying is it is becoming increasingly hard for anyone to convince me that Scott Snyder has any sort of actual creative ability when all he does is recreate conditions and scenarios that other writers have already thought of over and over again. I am completely open to re-interpretation and playing upon a theme as that in essence is what comic books is especially after 75 years. It’s an incredibly beaten path. But please try to do SOMETHING different with these characters and the themes that follow them.

 

And with that said this is where I will give this story credit where credit is due while simultaneously smacking it in the back of the head for being so half-assed. Making the Joker possibly immortal was an awesome thing to play with. I liked that moment where The Joker popped up behind Jim Gordon after being shot. I liked the moment where Batman had to descend into the sewers in order to talk to the one group of people he would least like to be on the same planet with let alone the same room.

 

I liked the reinvention of Crazy Quilt. I liked the other nods to what came before with The Bat People, Vandal Savage, and Ra’s Al Ghul. But making such an effort to make the Joker possibly immortal and then leaving it up to the reader to decide whether or not that was actually true because you didn’t have the foresight or vision to actually give an explanation is lazy. That is another tired trope of writing. It’s amateur. It’s not sexy like I said before.

 

There are perfect moments to do that in like in Judd Winnick’s Under The Red Hood story and whether or not it was the Lazarus Pit that turned Jason into a murdering lunatic or whether it was his hatred for Bruce because he didn’t save him. We as fans deserve more especially since there was such an opportunity to make it make sense with the Joker taking The Justice League head on and him possibly getting a hold of their tech in order to hop back in time to take the pictures but not disturb anything as to wreck the timeline of events. It was such low hanging fruit that has now spoiled because just a little extra effort was neglected to be used.

 

I have one more startling fact for you guys before I close up this article with a metaphor I must say I am incredibly proud of.

 

Scott Snyder took over this book in 2011. Before he came to this book during that same year Dick Grayson was Batman for 36 issues. If you add that to the 40 issues of volume two that have been released as well as the ten that Batman is said to be Jim Gordon until Bruce returns that will give you only 42 out of last 86 published Batman issues that Bruce Wayne has been Batman in “Batman”. Do you not see how to a fan of the character that is FAR too many issues for a book’s actual hero to be out of his own book no matter how amazing it was for Dick Grayson being the one under the mask during Daniel’s run due to Batman RIP?

 

In conclusion, and this may sound harsh but I want to talk directly to our writer, I am over you Scott Snyder. I have apologized for you and DC WAY too much since Flashpoint. I backed you up hoping you would find your footing. I am a loyal Bat-fan damn it! I was down for the road trip you were taking us on. And that ends now. (You know because something has to unlike any DC story that seems to be written anymore. Looking at YOU Futures/World’s End.)

 

What I thought was going to be in metaphorical terms not unlike the fun of “Road Trip” or even the classic “Vacation” you instead put me in the the plot of “Easy Rider” with Scott Snyder being Billy, me being Wyatt, and Batman being George. Just like in that film as we reflect on Endgame and Snyder’s run as a whole I can see Scott look at me and say “Our trip was a success” only for me to stare back at him and disagree and say, “We blew it”.

 

Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson’s character fates are so much akin to the way you have treated you, me and Bruce Wayne at the end of Endgame. I feel like I am lying in the middle of the road after having my bike blown up and am bleeding out after just losing a comrade in arms the night before due to the circumstances and risks we take playing this game. And just like the audience was left to wonder whether those characters in that movie and this comic alike were still alive, I am left to wonder if I in the metaphorical sense am too. Or did I just like Batman, Wyatt, Billy, and George just not know what I was getting into?

 

Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are of the writer alone and do not represent the views or opinions of the staff of The Batman Universe. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if you feel to argue this editorial with your own article be sure to email us at tbu@thebatmanuniverse.net

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  • John

    Snyder didn’t write the recent AMAZO virus story. Johns wrote it. I’m loving Synder’s work, and hope he continues to work with Batman as long as he wants.

    • Joshua Paul Hawkins

      Thank you for your comment. At no point did I say Snyder wrote the Amazo Virus but that he lifted from it for his story in Endgame with the Justice League being sidelined and in the hospital. I feel that the Justice League having that many biological breaches within such a short time span is silly and unneeded.

  • JSB

    Snyder’s run on the book reminds me of how I felt leaving the theater after The Phantom Menace. I saw the film 5 times in the theaters because dammit there had to be something else going on in this thing that I missed. It had small pieces of brilliance….but too small. And too few in between. And truthfully the political machinations and trade conflict that Lucas built the movie around actually made the SW universe vastly deeper than it was before. But in the end…the film just sucked.

    Now Snyder’s run on Detective Comics was some of the best bat-titles writing in years. Good stories, good character work. It was a twist on the batman Ethos that made the stories…fresh. And while Morrison gets the credit, and rightly so, For the character’s overall journey at that time, I was equally engaged by Snyder’s dark, thickly layered, multi-issue story arcs in Detective Comics. When Snyder moved over to write the flagship title, I was…uneasy. I’ve tried to like what he’s done with the book. And there are inspired moments, even brilliant issues. Joshua is 100 percent dead-on regarding the facets of “Endgame” that he did like. But 40 issues into Snyder’s run, I’m once again thinking, “there’s something wrong here” about a character and a book that I love with heart and soul. The stories are not particularly original (if at all in some cases, as Joshua points out) and for the most part they’re not particularly well-written (don’t even get me started on Capullo’s pencilling). And at the end of “Endgame”, Snyder kills Bruce Wayne? Again? Really? And has anyone checked to see just how many issues Bruce and Damian have ACTUALLY been in action together in?

    It’s the Phantom Menace all over again. I love the bat-titles. I love Snyder’s work. And I’ve stayed with it this long. But I’m just not liking his run on Batman. And at issue 40, I think it’s time to hand the reigns over to someone else.

    • Joshua Paul Hawkins

      Bruce Wayne and Damien have not actually been in the flagship book as partners officially since the beginning of Batman and Son until now. That is a fact.

  • Michael DeLozier (rhymes with “enclosure”)

    Yeah… just got Batman #40 in the mail, because I subscribe. I had avoided all spoilers for this issue and the FCBD Divergence issue. Was looking forward to the epic conclusion to Endgame. Yeah… so over Snyder’s run now. He doesn’t know how to finish a story. Black Mirror was excellent, but Death of The Family and Endgame are absolutely terrible because there is no payoff, and ultimately no point to the arcs. I used to think it will be awful when Snyder leaves Batman; not anymore. I’m tired of investing months into storylines with no ending. I just want a Batman story that finishes with a bang instead of a “meh.”