Written pre-New 52, The Black Mirror stars Dick Grayson in his closing days as Gotham's Batman. While the newly returned Bruce Wayne is busy developing Batman Inc elsewhere, Dick has developed a new crime lab for the GCPD and James Gordon in particular to use. Simultaneously, he is continuing to fight crime as Batman with the technical support of Red Robin, Oracle, and Jim Gordon.
The Black Mirror collects three separate but related storylines:
- "Black Mirror" where Dick faces off against an auction house of super villain trophies
- "Hungry City" where Dick must solve the murder of a bank employee left in the stomach of an orca
- "Skeleton Cases" where Jim and Barbara Gordon deal with the return of sociopath James Gordon Jr to Gotham.
The Black Mirror was published in the pages of Detective Comics and was so acclaimed that Snyder was moved to the main Batman series following the New 52 reboot.
The Black Mirror contains examples of the following tropes:
- Ambiguous Ending: It's unclear in the last story whether the threat of the day was actually stopped or not.
- Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear what exactly created James Junior's mental problems: brain damage from the fall during Batman: Year One, a genetic defect, or Gotham itself.
- Archnemesis Dad: Inverted with the Gordons
- Arc Villain: The Dealer for "Black Mirror" and Tiger Shark for "Hungry City"
- Arc Welding: James Jr. is revealed to have played a part in everything villainous throughout all three arcs of this story.
- Big Bad: James Gordon, Jr.
- Body Horror: The Man-Bat serum and Killer Croc mutagen show up in the first story
- Cain and Abel: James Jr and Barbara have had this relationship in the past. And still do.
- Call-Back: James Jr falls off Gotham Bridge like he did in Batman: Year One.
- Cassandra Truth: Barbara seems to feel that she's the only one to see that her brother is a psycho killer. Subverted when it's revealed Dick bugged James Jr when they met and Jim swiped one of James Jr's pills to analyze. Turns out to be a good thing they did.
- Cool Ship: Tiger Shark's Bond villain-esque submarine
- Crazy-Prepared: Dick has a tazer hidden in the finger of his glove for when he gets held up from behind.
- Damsel in Distress: Happens in the last story
- Deadpan Snarker: Both Batman and Red Robin.
- Eldritch Location: Gordon hypothesizes that Gotham is one, driving people towards madness and evil.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Dick invokes this trope at the end.
- Hollywood Satanism: The Dealer plays with this. His alias is Etienne Guibourg, a 17th century monk caught performing demonic rituals.
- Karma Houdini: The Dealer and Tiger Shark both escape
- Lack of Empathy: James Jr sees this as the next step in human evolution and is going to push it with baby formula tainted with his altered meds.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Sonia Branch, the owner of Gotham's most successful bank, is the daughter of Tony Zucco, the man who killed Dick's parents.
- Not Me This Time: Who hit Barbara Kean with Joker toxin? James Jr.
- Powered Armor: Dick has one for when the flying Batmobile can't get high enough.
- Religion of Evil: Mirror House has this as its mission statement, believing humanity's tendancy towards pointless cruelty is its "divine spark".
- Slasher Smile: Dick busts one out a couple times when he wants to rub it in a criminal's face.
- Social Darwinist: James Jr believes that empathy is weakness and looks to eradicate it in the next generation of Gothamites by mixing his psychopathy-enhancing formula to baby formula in the city.
- Villainous Rescue: James Jr reveals he saved Dick from the mob at Mirror House.
- Wham Line: "Hey, sis."
- Wham Shot: Ben Wolff strung up in his own basement, his limbs and lower jaw hacked off, The Reveal that, yes, James Jr has been Evil All Along.
- When He Smiles: One of the characters makes a Call-Back to when Dick first put on the cowl after Final Crisis and re-debuted to the public as Batman. Dick's little smile there was proof positive that this wasn't the original Batman.