Batman investigates the death of black teenager at the hands of white cops in new comic

(Image credit: iStock)

Life imitates art, art imitates life, and this whole story sounds a little familiar: A black teenager dies at the hands of a Gotham City police officer, so who better to investigate than...Batman?

A flashback story begins with the blunt image of a dead black boy, his body left "for the crows," as the narration reads, resonant of Michael Brown in Ferguson. He wears a hooded sweatshirt, as did Trayvon Martin before George Zimmerman killed the 17-year old. What begins as A Simple Case — the title of the issue — becomes a meditation on the meaning of a rich, white vigilante who attempts to solve intractable urban problems by beating up bad guys. [The Guardian]

That's the plot of Issue #44 of the Batman comics, which explores police brutality. It's a problem the issue's lead writer, Scott Snyder, decided to confront because, "If we were going to do an issue that dealt with potent problems that people face in cities that are reflected fictitiously in Gotham then we want to really put our money where our mouth was and explore something that's extremely resonant right now, and, I think, tricky, murky waters."

Batman doesn't end up taking revenge on the cops, perhaps because, as Snyder believes, it's a "tricky, murky" situation. But The New York Daily News reports that the Batman comics don't usually delve into political topics, a change that critics have been praising.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.