In issue No. 44 of DC Comics’ Batman, the story reads like a ripped-from-the-headlines issue. Lead writer Scott Snyder wanted to address today’s issues, which include police brutality as well as gentrification. The issue mixes in the real-life events of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin.
In the comic, Gotham Police Officer Ned Howler shoots Peter Duggio, a black teenager who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The story begins with a photo of Duggio that shows him shot in the stomach and wearing a hoodie.
“Of course you want Batman to beat this officer up, and be like, ‘How could you?’ But the point of the issue is that wouldn’t solve the problem. Batman throwing the officer off a roof, or throwing the officer in jail, it wouldn’t get to the heart of the matter at all. And that’s the thing I think is ultimately infuriating,” Snyder told the Guardian Tuesday.
In the area of gentrification, it was Bruce Wayne who developed the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, but as Batman, he’s standing on a rooftop, “staring out at a city that no longer makes sense to him, as fictionalized versions of newspaper articles on police brutality, institutionalized racism, poverty and gentrification swirl disorientingly around him,” The Guardian reports.
DC Comics plans to construct a continued dialogue about issues that currently plague society and the racial themes will not disappear.
“Batman is learning he can’t solve problems in the ways he thought he could,” Snyder told the Guardian. “It’s much more about understanding what people face in their everyday lives: knowing their fears, knowing their anger, and trying to show them, in a way, that they can and we together can fix, or hopefully make baby steps in fixing, these problems that seem intractable, entrenched and impossible to overcome.”
Batman No. 44 is currently on sale.
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root.