Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have left the building, or at least this volume of Batman. There's no need to fear as James Tynion IV picks up the reigns to deliver a touching and insightful look into Batman's life and mind. Tynion is no stranger to this volume as he has written several back up stories and had a hand in a recent issue that explored Batmen of other realities. With that and his upcoming role as the writer of the Rebirth Detective Comics, this is definitely not a filler issue.
I'll admit, when I first saw the story opening a couple weeks after the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, I wasn't sure what we were getting into. Exploring some of the missing years or moments in Bruce's life can absolutely be intriguing. It's just a question of how it's executed. Tynion takes what could be a simple cliché and turns into a great focal point in the story. I do wonder if we could have cool stories taking place during the in between years for Bruce. Tynion shows they can work.
Riley Rossmo's art and Ivan Plascencia and Jordan Boyd's colors add a nice touch to the story. Readers of this volume may have wanted an artist with a style more similar to Capullo, especially since we he did the cover. I embrace Rossmo's art in this story. It adds a slightly creepy vibe as we see a new villain called Crypsis. As the story switches between the present and moments in the past, we get some cool moments along with seeing some growth in Batman.
How does this issue fit in with the rest of the series? It's hard to say. It is almost an epilogue of sorts. James Tynion IV delivers a fun and intriguing story with plenty of heart. Maybe it's a little upbeat for what we've had previously in this volume. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Why not end the volume on a positive note? Perhaps it's because we just had a self-contained epilogue-type story last month, this feels a little out of place as a final story. I do like what Tynion and Rossmo do there. I'd just rather see it (and more of it) elsewhere. This issue easily stands on its own and shouldn't be missed.