If you're anything like me and if you've been reading comics long enough, you can remember reading Watchmen and thinking comics were never going to be the same. You can remember collecting "Days of Future Past" and talking about the landscape of the X-Men was forever altered. You can still go back to your Sandman issues and still get the same thrill and wonder out of reading them that you did years ago. You can recall a few landmark stories that elevated comics to new and different heights. I truly believe that this run on Batman will be looked back on in years to come as one of the great Batman story arcs in his long history. The Dark Knight, A Death in the Family, The Killing Joke and Year One are all seminal Batman moments, and I think this will take its place among them and be mentioned as something truly special.
I won't get into any great detail about the story, but suffice to say, there are some new villains in Gotham, or instead I should probably say, they've been there all along and we're just getting to know them now. That's what's great about Scott Snyder's whole concept; it doesn't change in any tangible way anything about what has gone on before in decades of Batman Canon. It simply adds to it. Even without the New 52 reboot, the story would have worked and unfolded in nearly the same exact way. It doesn't really matter much of when it all takes place. It could have happened 2 years ago, it could be happening 2 years from now, but either way it works, and it works well.
Just to give you a quick summary, there's this group called the Court of Owls. They've been in Gotham for a long, long time, and pretty much doing their own thing and running a great deal of the city behind the scenes. Batman and Bruce Wayne are just now hitting their radar, they know Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, and they don't care. What they do care about is the threat he poses, and they decide to shut him down. No negotiations, no ultimatums, just death. So they come after Bruce in his home and from there you know it's on! The entire plot and story has great tie-ins with the other "Bat Family" titles, especially Nightwing, and it's creepy, sinister, and oozes evil from every pore.
Greg Capullo (The Creech / Spawn / Haunt) is just killing it folks. He's managed to take one of the most beloved, most well-known characters anywhere, and give him a fresh coat of paint that doesn't seem slapped on, or a major re-tread of an already existing style. The New 52 Universe was the perfect time to give Bruce and everyone else in the Batman mythos a new look and Bruce is a bit younger after the reboot, but he still commands the page with his presence.
As Batman, he has a strong, almost Frank Miller "Dark Knight" kind of physique and just like many others classic Batman runs, this is where Capullo and the book really shine. The layouts are easy to follow the art clean and beautiful, the storytelling crisp and make for an easy read.
Capullo manages to even make Gotham City itself a character. Moody, atmospheric panels fill the books and there are shots of Gotham's dirty underbelly that look like they've been taken directly from a Fincher movie that perfectly capture the moody darkness Batman lives in. Bruce's world is full of bright, clean and pristine high society locales which serve up stark contrast against Batman's gloomy, gritty life in the shadows.
Inks by Jonathan Glapion sharpen and enhance Capullo's lines and they make a dynamic duo of their own as everything looks distinct and clear even in the darkest of panels. The colors of FCO Plascencia make each page a wonder to take in as he breathes even more life into the characters with his subdued but highly effective color palette. I could easily be talked into hanging each page on my wall they're so good.
It's really very simple. If you love comics, if you love Batman, if you love good stories and great art, then grab your keys and head down to your local comic shop, and pick it up. Trust me; you'll be glad you did! It's a great series that's worth your time!