Trade Paperback Tuesday: ‘Batman: The Black Mirror’

Everyone knows that Wednesday is new comic book day. While picking up your new issues consider looking at some of the trade paperbacks and hard covers of past issues and story lines. But which ones should you choose?

That’s why every Tuesday, The Flickcast will recommend a collection of comics that are just as good, if not better, than the issues you are currently buying. Books that deserve to be read, and bought the next time you walk into your local comic book store.

As we end the first month on the New Year, I thought it would be nice to pick up and read the best comic series published last year. Batman: The Black Mirror is a Batman story at its best. Mystery, murder, and clues mixed in with a personal and scary story from Commissioner Gordon’s past. In fact, The Black Mirror is one of the greatest Batman stories of all time, and it doesn’t even star Bruce Wayne. It stars Dick Grayson.

After the Final Crisis, when everyone thought Bruce Wayne was dead, Dick Grayson took up the cowl and became Batman. Bruce finally returned and decided to travel the world creating Batman Incorporated, a corporation of Batmen dedicated to protecting people. He left Dick Grayson in charge of Gotham City, and even let him continue to be Batman as Gotham will always need a Batman.

The Black Mirror contrasts two stories running through this collection that was originally published as Detective Comics #871-881. Dick Grayson as Batman is encountering a new type of criminal. Darker, vicious, and meaner, it’s almost as if Gotham City is personally challenging the Boy Wonder turned Dark Knight. Meanwhile, a secret from Jim Gordon’s past has come back to haunt him, and if he is not careful it will take everyone he loves including his daughter Barbara, now known as Oracle.

The stories in this collection are so good that I do not want to spoil any detail. Writer Scott Snyder truly made this a mystery as each issue reveals a new clue while at the same time bringing up more questions. The way he weaves clues into the story will leave you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Snyder has a truly fresh perspective for these characters. Giving old characters like Commissioner Gordon dialogue that makes them sound more like a real person and not just an archetype. Here is an example.

“Call me Dick, please. You drove me to my high school prom.” – Dick Grayson

“Actually, I drove my daughter to her high school prom. You just happened to be in the car.” – Commissioner Gordon

Batman: The Black Mirror is one of the best Batman stories published in the last ten years. If you gave up on reading straight superhero comics, this is the one to come back in on. Who would have thought that one of the best Batman stories ever wouldn’t even involve Bruce Wayne?

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