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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 December 2011
With Bruce Wayne busy setting up Batman Incorporated, Dick Grayson (the first Robin) dons the cowl and becomes Gotham's Dark Knight. But as Grayson has been finding out since he became the Batman, it's not easy being the Caped Crusader and "The Black Mirror" shows him going up against a macabre and monstrous auctioneer of Batman paraphernalia called "The Dealer", a cyborg carjacker called "Roadrunner", a blind-folded pirate called "Tyger Shark", the Joker (of course) and the double-dealing Sonia Branch aka Sonia Zucco, daughter of Tony Zucco who murdered Grayson's parents. But of all the colourful villains lining up to take down the Batman, none are more disturbing that James Gordon Jnr, who makes a murderous return to Gotham...

Having just read "American Vampire" I wasn't sure Scott Snyder had the writing chops to create a Batman series this good, but he proves in "The Black Mirror" that he is easily as talented as the more experienced Batman scribes out there and can create a menacing, taut storyline to boot. I particularly liked the nuances he gives Grayson's Batman: when meeting with Jim Gordon he doesn't suddenly disappear when Gordon turns to switch off the Bat signal, much to Gordon's surprise; Grayson's banter with fellow hero Red Robin, aka Tim Drake (the third Robin), is much more comradely and friendly as the two are really equals than teacher/student as is the way with Wayne/Grayson.

Snyder writes the James Gordon Jnr storyline brilliantly, where the suspense between whether or not he's telling the truth is kept up tightly until the right time, and the way the character is written is both chilling and captivating, like Kevin Spacey's performance as John Doe in "Se7en". His normality is what's so disarming, and the artwork by Francesco Francavilla who draws/paints this storyline adds to the creepiness. He draws James as this normal looking kid but the expression on his face is as scary as anyone you'd find in Arkham Asylum.

Jock's artwork is fantastic throughout. His covers are amazing, particularly the Joker one which was partially made up of bats, but really they were all excellent and I loved the way he draws Grayson swooping through the Gotham skyline as if he were still in a circus big top on the trapeze.

"The Black Mirror" is one of the best self-contained Batman storylines in ages. Like all the best Batman books it's focus is on crime and the evil ordinary people are capable of rather than the cartoonish villains and the overly dramatic superhero elements some other Batman books have (though there are moments of this here too). Refreshingly with Grayson as Batman, while the story is dark, Snyder focuses on hope and light making this Dark Knight book not quite so dark and bleak while maintaining its heart and soul. It's one of the best Batman books out there and is destined to become a classic - what're you waiting for? Sit back and enjoy a Gotham moment.
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The stories from Detective Comics issues #871 to #881 are collected as Batman: The Black Mirror TP (Batman (DC Comics Paperback)). These are actually interlinked stories, though the links are not obvious until the finale.

I gave up buying Batman comics after the end of the `Knightfall' and `Azrael' storylines, however many years ago that was, as basically, after all the shouting had died down, nothing had changed. I occasionally read a Batman-related graphic novel from my local library if something catches my eye, as with this collected volume here. It is an exciting read, with exceptionally good artwork, this time around with Dick Grayson as Batman following the establishment of the `Batman Incorporated' franchise.

The stories presented are
The Black Mirror 1-3
Skeleton Cases 1-3
Lost Boys
Hungry City 1-3
Skeleton Key
My Dark Architect
The Face in the Glass

The `Black Mirror' involves yet another international conspiracy of fabulously wealthy people who this time are buying criminal memorabilia - stolen from police storage - at auctions held in famous crime scenes, and organised by a dastardly foreigner. Dick Grayson infiltrates one of the auctions etc. etc. The story stats with someone having freed the birds from Gotham's aviary, which of course makes the reader think of the usual suspect, but he's nowhere to be seen in this volume.

The supporting cast are Commissioner and Barbara Gordon, Harvey Bullock, and, to a lesser extent, Alfred and Tim the Red Robin. As the volume progresses, the stories revolve more and more about the `family' of Dick Grayson ("call me Dick, please. You drove me to my high school prom" - Gordon: "I drove my daughter to her high school prom. You just happened to be in the car"), especially when in the second storyline, Jim Gordon Jr makes his reappearance in `Skeleton Cases, and `Lost Boys'. I am not familiar with his back-story; the only time I can ever remember seeing him before is as a baby in Batman: Year One back in the seventies. Here at least the Gordon family tree is explained, as the Commissioner appears to have been married twice, though I am still not clear whether Barbara is the daughter of the first wife - also called Barbara - or the second. Jim Jr is definitely the daughter of the first wife, apparently. What is made clear to us, is that he is, or was, a sociopath, but he's got better since taking his medication.

The third story, `Hungry City' starts with the murder of a killer whale, whose body is dumped in a Gotham Bank, run by Sonia Branch - the estranged daughter of Tony Zucco, the man who murdered Dick Grayson's parents. When doing the autopsy, the body of Sonia's PA is discovered inside, which leads us to a conspiracy of rich Gotham criminals who are trying to blackmail Ms Branch into laundering their money. A couple of Morrison-grade whack-jobs later and Dick has got to the bottom of the mystery - while also finding out first-hand how the body got in the killer whale. We end up with him having a meeting with Jim Jr, at the Commissioner's request, to give an unbiased opinion of his recovery. The meeting ends with Jim Jr going home to his latest victim hidden in the basement. Come on, we knew all along didn't we?

The final three stories are about Jim Jr's dastardly plot to take revenge on his family, while also contaminating the baby formula produced and distributed in Gotham with the reverse-engineered medication he's been taking, which causes rather than cures his instincts to murder... The Commissioner finally realises what his son is by the end of `Skeleton Key'; while in `My Dark Architect' Jim Jr.'s mother apparently falls victim to the Joker; and in `The Face in the Glass' Dick has a chat with the Joker about Jim Jr., who was a neighbour of his at Arkham once - they got along famously, it appears, in a seriously big back-story filling in sort of way, as we discover during Jim Jr.'s chat with sister Barbara, where he reveals everything, including his secret appearances back in the Black Mirror. Unfortunately for him, Dick then reveals his own secret activities... But it is left to Commissioner Gordon and his friends Mr Smith and Mr Wesson to have the last word with young Jim, in a scene foreshadowed in more than one previous story.

The volume ends where it began, with Dick and the Commissioner in the Wayne Foundation crime lab -
Gordon: "Well, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank you, Dick."
Dick: "Of course, it was the least we could do, given-"
Gordon: "No. I mean THANK you. On all fronts"
Dick: "You're welcome."

There was a multi-page and wordless sequence in a John Byrne Batman story, once upon a time, long ago and far away, which depicted the discovery of the body of the Batman; the Commissioner being called to the mortuary; him slowly removing the mask, and staring a while; and then standing on the roof with the Bat-signal activated.

If you are a Batman fan, then you'll want to read this. If you are just casually browsing, it is still an entertaining comic, and you don't need to know the back-story to enjoy it, as this is really all about the back story, so it is presented in great detail for us. In fact, for all I know, the writer could be inventing all the back story right here... I read a library copy of this, I have to admit, but I still buy the all the Archive Editions.
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on 23 January 2014
Ok, this was my first Batman book in which Grayson and not Wayne is Batman. And it was just amazing. The stories are good, the character has complexity and it was a great read. I'd like more like this. Of course, the fact the Snyder wrote the stories had something to do with how good it is, which is why I also enjoy a lot the new 52...
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on 5 December 2012
Black Mirror is what confirmed me as a Batman Graphic Novel collector - the art, the story; everything about this book is fantastic, and it won't be long before this is listed as a classic alongside The Killing Joke and Knightfall!
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on 16 August 2013
For every batman fan who's reading this, when you're writing a review don't tell everyone what happens in every part of the story. It's annoying. It's okay if it's half way through and you write "*SPOILERS*" other wise, just don't. Ruins it.

First of all, I'm starting a batman collection and I didn't want to read any batman book with Robin in it or anything like that because I didn't like the idea of robin. Then I bought this thinking it was Bruce Wayne. Completely changed my mind. Now I want to get all the graphic novels with Dick, Jason, Tim, Barbara, red hood, night wing, and Damien. It would be impossible not to anyway, but this was just so brilliant. It shows how empty Dick seems, yet seems like there's a lot to him.

I'm never bothered by art work unless it's just plain bad, but this seemed amazing. Something about the art work goes really well with the story line which you can tell has been chosen for reason as it flicks to a different story, the artwork flicks with it.

When I first read it, I read a few pages and then forgot about it. Picked it up again a while later and oh my. I really got into it after those few pages. At first it seemed uninteresting with dim art work and then bam. Suddenly the art and story link and the story builds up.

If there's going to be a bunch of comic books you want to start with, I'd say this is a bullet point book.
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on 8 March 2014
I read a library copy of the paperback.
I've only recently discovered that Commisioner Gordon even had a son - let alone he's such a scarey guy!!
He now tops my list of frightening villains, mainly because he's so un-supervillain-like, he could be really out there!!
This is a fabulous trade, asside from collecting 11 issues (fantastic!!) every one segues into the next and the overarching storyline holds the book together with more bind than most three parters.
The artwork is a little sketchey for me - I'm old-school crisp clean artwork fan - but it works here very well, except maybe on the Joker. I can not praise the depiction of Dick as Batman enough as it's strangely still Batman but so obviously no longer Bruce!.
Writer Snyder I've only just started to discover and appreciate in the new52 universe - hence my seeking his work out here. I am blown away by his work. I am even contemplating buying my own copy of this and keeping it both to read again and again but also to just know that I have a wonderful, nigh on perfect slice of Batman history.
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on 9 May 2014
With Dick Grayson at the helm, not Brue Wayne this graphic novel gives a refreshing spin on Batman.

Story-wise, for me the first third was the best, with an interesting story of a nefarious underground of Gotham socialites trying to out-bid each other on various 'evil' paraphernalia - it then goes on a bit of a tangent with a story revolving around Gordon's son. It was fine, but I wished it had stuck to the orignal plot line more. Having said that we do go on quite a dark and winding road and it was enjoyable. It has echoes of the movie Seven in places and does get pretty nasty (in a good way!).

The art style flips between Jock and Francavilla throughout the issues brought together here. Jock's work on The Losers is now pretty much legendary - edgy and engaging. Francavilla's style is more err.. flabby! Still fine but placed next to Jock it's an acquired taste.

Overall it is a good read and absolutely worth picking up if you want a new take on a Batman story.
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on 23 April 2012
what can i say this comic has an excellent storyline and great art, a must buy for all batman fans.
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on 16 September 2013
I am a Batman fan - having enjoyed the Nolan films and the Arkham games in particular - but never feeling particularly satisfied with the comics. I have tried many of the classic Batman graphic novels but very few seemed to click with me.

The Black Mirror far exceeded my expectations.

Set during a time when Dick Grayson, the original Robin, has taken up the mantle of Batman, this collection is part horror, part thriller, part mystery. It is a far more cerebral storyline, with one central genuine puzzle that gently unravels. I particularly enjoyed the chapters that focused on other characters - it shows Batman as just one part of a busy city. Note that the story is quite dark and is not child-friendly.

Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend this for anyone - whether you are a comic fan or not. The only other Batman comic that comes close is Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth which I also recommend.
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on 13 September 2014
Jock's art is great, the other guy's isn't. The story is a worthy read though I must say I don't really enjoy having Dick Grayson being Batman. It just seems pointless! This is a good collection though, worth putting on your list AFTER hush and the long halloween.
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