With this issue, Scott Snyder has officially cemented his place as one of my top two favorite writers of DC Comic’s New 52 so far (the other being Grant Morrison over on ‘Action Comics’). Snyder’s turn on ‘Swamp Thing’ #1 was a fantastically creepy read, but this issue of ‘Batman’ is pure bat-genius!

In a mere 24 pages, Snyder is able to establish nearly all of the main players of the New 52 Gotham city and leave us wanting more. In an opening fight scene, we’re introduced to a small assortment of villains from Batman’s rogues gallery. Later on, we’re introduced to the “good guys”. To do this, Snyder uses a piece of Batman’s technology to create a voice-over that introduces each character in turn. New readers should have little trouble figuring out who’s who. Sure. They don’t go into detail with the history of all three Robins but that’s not necessary information for understanding this first issue. I expect all that will come out in time. Here we get what we need to know for a new series and that’s it.

Snyder also captured the perfect three-part balance between Batman as action, Batman as detective, and as his alter ego Bruce Wayne. We’re given enough of each to make any fan of Batman happy. I expect that as things go along, certain issues will sway into one area of Batman’s persona than others but Snyder seems to have a tight grasp on Batman’s central character. Amazingly, Snyder does all this without making the issue appear rushed. He opens with a whirling flurry of action, punching, and property damage before moving to Wayne Manor to introduce the heroes and set up the future of Gotham City (some of which was hinted at over in ‘Detective Comics’ #1). In the final few pages, we’re left with a mystery that even jaded Bat-fans won’t see coming. I tip my hat to Snyder for that one because it officially made ‘Batman’ my “most wanted” of the #2 issues. I have to see where this is going!

The artwork from Greg Capullo is a perfect match for Snyder’s story. Capullo perfectly captures the grim, action-packed world of Batman when he’s swinging above Gotham’s grim pires. There’s one half-page splash scene just before the final few pages that I paused and said to myself, “Now that’s Batman!” The other piece of Capullo’s artistic brilliance is in his facial expressions. From Batman’s clenched jaw in the opening action scene to Detective Harvey Bullock’s smug-but-disinterested look in the final pages, Capullo just nails it!

So far, DC has pulled out all the stops with it’s big two. Both ‘Action Comics’ and ‘Detective Comics’ opening issues were both great and now this. If they can keep this up with next week’s ‘Superman’ #1, I think this relaunch is going to keep a new generation of fans happy for quite a while.