In “Batman” #46, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo pit Batman against Mr. Bloom in a room full of hostages. Danny Miki brings the inks, FCO Plascencia colors the action and Steve Wands provides the letters to complete the visuals in the sixth chapter of the “Superheavy” saga, while Snyder decides to spice up an old story structure recipe by having hero and villain scrap, break off the fight to reconnoiter and return for an issue-ending, cliffhanger slobberknocker.
Snyder’s extra kick comes in the form of unpredictable twists slipped into every scene, from the brutal hostage situation where Bloom recklessly unfurls his tendrils to the pair of separate but parallel subplots following Bruce Wayne and Duke down their respective paths. Snyder infuses Bloom with confident bluster, right down to giving him the real estate to blather on in a classic villainous monologue.
Capullo brings the energetic detailed work readers have come to expect from him. Despite the grim nature of Mr. Bloom’s attacks, Capullo manages to infuse the gore with energy. His animated characters certainly add to that, as do the expressions he employs. In Bloom’s case, there are no facial features to communicate through, so Capullo channels body language and character placement to augment the tension and menace in the gangly villain. While Snyder has worked with other artists on this volume of Batman’s journey, his collaboration with Capullo has amplified the action in every issue and is especially apparent in “Batman” #46, where the hostage situation is equal parts dialogue and art.
Plascencia’s colors give each page its own temperature and tone. All of Batman’s appearances are framed in black, while white optimism hovers around the outside of the Bruce Wayne panels. Duke’s adventures in the Iceberg Lounge have a chilly blue cast upon them, while the opening hostage scene is filled with grey-green decay. The characters in the pages are all luminous, grabbing the readers’ attention throughout the issue and working quite handsomely with Capullo’s lines.
As with the colors in “Batman” #46, Wands’ work on the lettering is borne of story-driven necessity. Gordon’s voice in the suit is a different font and weight than Bloom’s, whose voice is depicted unlike any other character who has appeared in this volume of Batman, let alone any other plant-themed being in the DC Universe. Snyder occasionally packs a lot of story into the dialogue, and Wands works nicely to preserve Capullo’s drawings while conveying the message.
“Superheavy” has opened a whole new wing in the legacy library of Batman’s mythology. Seeded with new foes like Mr. Bloom, the arc exemplifies the teamwork required by comic book creators. No character is a bad character and no story a bad story; some tales simply need a little more cultivating, as Snyder, Capullo, Miki, Plascencia and Wands demonstrate in “Batman” #46, where Mr. Bloom is a serious threat and Batman is faced with a challenge unfamiliar to him. Where this creative takes “Superheavy” from here remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: it’s going to be one hell of a ride.