Batman #4 opened with a gory scene showing 27 men lying dead at the hands of Gotham. The weight of responsibility for the safety of Gotham City and its residents is starting to weigh on the sincere rookie. He’s realizing it will take more than superpowers to be a hero. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that Gotham and Gotham Girl have had their emotions turned sideways by Psycho Pirate.In Batman #5, Gotham decides that the city of Gotham needs to be destroyed because he can’t save it. He flies to the center of town and warns bystanders to run as his eyes begin to glow red. Batman’s on the way, but won’t make it in time, so he sends in a decoy to stall for a few minutes. Alfred arrives on the scene in the Batmobile, wearing a Batsuit. That image alone is worth the price of admission.Batman himself is no match physically for Gotham, so he has called in some reinforcements. It quickly becomes evident that even The Justice League’s combined abilities won’t cut it unless they gain some understanding of Gotham’s unique powers. The only person who can provide said insight is Gotham Girl, who is currently in the Batcave with Duke, paralyzed with irrational fear courtesy of Psycho Pirate.I am Gotham #5 is a brilliant finale to the arc. Tom King has deftly established Batman as the only hero who can bear the weight of Gotham City’s sins. Bruce Wayne is Gotham City, for better and worse. Batman #6 will serve as an epilogue to I am Gotham, and then we get to see King write Batman’s first crossover of the Rebirth era in Batman #7. The Monster Men are coming!Batman #5, DC Comics, Rated T, released August 17, 2016, written by Tom King, pencils by David Finch, inks by David Finch, Sandra Hope, Matt Banning and Scott Hanna, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by John Workman, cover by David Finch, Danny Miki, and Jordie Bellaire, variant cover by Tim Sale, $2.69Review by Brendan AllenPlease follow and like us:
Tom King is a fan of callbacks. The flashback scene in Batman #3 that showed a young Gotham walking obliviously with his parents into a mugging, then being saved from that horror by Batman was a nod to Batman’s own origin story. While the results of the two incidents were vastly different, both boys were inspired to the same goal in adulthood, saving Gotham City from itself.
Batman #4 opens with another callback. This one is a double whammy. In a setup reminiscent of a well-known scene from All Star Superman where The Man of Steel gracefully lands behind a suicidal girl on a rooftop and reassures her that everything will be all right, Gotham finds himself stationed on a ledge behind an apparently suicidal man. He recites the same words to the jumper that Batman spoke to Gotham as a young boy on the night he was mugged with his parents.
“We just have to remember that everyone gets scared. But all that really means is everyone gets an opportunity to fight that fear. Everyone gets a chance to be brave.”
Unfortunately, the same words that inspired Gotham to become a vigilante crime fighter inspired this apparent bridge jumper to complete a different task, much darker than was assumed by the green hero. Gotham city is starting to take its toll on the idealistic young hero.
Tom King’s decision to largely leave Hugo Strange in the background of this opening salvo of issues is brilliant. We’ve seen the bad doctor a couple times, enough to know that he’s behind all these strange goings on in Gotham City, but we, as readers, are still as clueless as The World’s Greatest Detective as to what end.
The art team, led by David Finch, continues to impress. The dark and twisty narrative is matched by imagery equally. The implicit violence in some scenes is just as vividly portrayed as the explicit violence in other scenes. This title is carrying a “T” rating for a reason.
Batman #4, DC Comics, released August 3, 2016, written by Tom King, pencils by David Finch, inks by Sandra Hope and Matt Banning, color by Jordie Bellaire, letters by John Workman, cover by David Finch, Jordie Bellaire, and Matt Banning, variant cover by Tim Sale, $2.69
Review by Brendan Allen.Please follow and like us:
Gotham and Gotham Girl seemingly appeared out of thin air in I Am Gotham (Batman #1). Batman #3 starts to pull back the curtain on who these mystery vigilante crime fighters are and where they came from. The opening sequence is a flashback (with entirely too many “piss references”) where Batman saves a young boy and his folks from a brutal mugging. Back in storyline present, we learn the tale is being told to an incognito Bruce Wayne by Gotham & Gotham Girl’s parents. We’re following the story of the world’s greatest detective.
Of course he figured out their secret identities. Although exactly how the pair achieved their superhuman abilities is still unclear. We only know it was expensive and it took place somewhere overseas. There’s a rabbit hole I’m sure we’ll head down eventually.
“The Monster Men are… coming. Aren’t they…STRANGE…?”
If you haven’t guessed by now, with the oh-so-subtle dialogue clues like the one above and two cameo appearances by none other than Dr. Hugo Strange himself, Tom King is setting us up to revisit one of the oldest storylines in Batlore, Hugo Strange and the Monster Men. King isn’t messing around with the “back to our roots” DC Rebirth concept. This story has its roots all the way back in 1940’s Batman #1.
I am thoroughly enjoying Tom King’s take on Batman. We’re seeing more of Bruce Wayne’s sleuthing abilities and disguise expertise. The chapters haven’t been excessive in their use of action sequences, but the action is well planned and executed. The dialogue and setup is where King is really starting to shine. There are more than a couple times Mr. King effectively uses misdirection to poke at readers who have extensive knowledge of Batman and DC canon. Those are my favorite setups, where you aren’t sure you’ve been had until it becomes abundantly clear three panels (or three issues) later.
Batman #3, DC Comics, released July 20, 2016, written by Tom King, pencils by David Finch, inks by Danny Miki, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by John Workman, cover by David Finch, Matt Banning, and Jordie Bellaire, $2.69
Review by Brendan AllenPlease follow and like us:
In case you missed Batman #1, Batman was poised to rescue the city of Gotham and passengers on board a critically disabled jet by diverting the jet into a large body of water. In the process of saving countless lives, Batman was prepared to lose his own. At the very last second, the plane slowed by an unseen force. As the nose of the plane lifted up gently, Batman mistakenly credited the assist to Superman before realizing it was someone else entirely. Two masked strangers introduced themselves as Gotham and Gotham Girl.
Batman #2 opens with a fight between Gotham, Gotham Girl, and Solomon Grundy. This is the first good look we get at Gotham and Gotham Girl. By first appearance, the pair has Kryptonian abilities. They both levitate and fly in the manner of Clark Kent, and they also apparently have super strength. Later in the issue, we learn they also have enhanced vision and x-ray vision. The symbol they wear on their chests is even reminiscent of the Superman’s shield of The House of El.
The fight with Grundy showcases the pair’s abilities, but also exposes a huge weakness. They haven’t been doing this hero gig for very long, and they’re green as grass. Batman is uncharacteristically trusting of the new duo. He agrees to help train them, either to make them into credible crime fighters, or so that he can keep them close for observation. The pair is extremely eager to please, which begs to question why they are so intent on getting close to Batman in the first place.
I enjoyed the pacing of this issue better than the last. The last issue was all about establishing relationships and characters. This issue starts to move the Monster Men story arc forward, while still conveying a few important character developments. Tom King and David Finch have delivered another solid entry in the Rebirth mythos. I only hope that they are able to maintain this level of storytelling while pumping out two issues per month.
Batman #2, DC Comics, released July 6, 2016, written by Tom King, pencils by David Finch, inks by Matt Banning and Danny Miki, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by John Workman, cover by David Finch and Jordie Bellaire, $2.69
Review by Brendan Allen.Please follow and like us:
It’s safe to say that Tom King and David Finch have some very big shoes to fill. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo did such an excellent job with the New 52 Batman series that readers have been waiting with great anticipation to see exactly what the new team will bring to the table.
Batman #1 jumps right into the action and doesn’t let up until the final spread. In the opening pages, we see Batman and Commissioner Gordon in their familiar places on the rooftop, Bat-Signal illuminating the sky above their heads. Gordon is filling Batman in on the recent heist of three surface-to-air missiles, only two of which have been recovered.
Just as Gordon slyly suggests the Dark Knight should entrust him with his cell phone number so these rooftop meetings would no longer be necessary, the missing rocket is launched in the background, striking a passing plane. In classic Dark Knight fashion, Batman bails on Gordon mid sentence to prevent the critically damaged plane from dropping in the middle of Gotham. The real time elapsed from opening spread to final teaser is only six minutes, but those six minutes are some of the most tense, action packed, and emotional six minutes I’ve read.
This chapter nicely re-establishes the classic relationships we expect from previous series and introduces the new dynamic between Batman and his ally Duke Thomas. I’m calling him an ally for now, because we still don’t know exactly what Duke’s new role is in the family. We’ve been told in Batman Rebirth #1 that he isn’t going to be a new Robin and that Batman is trying something new with Duke. We also caught a glimpse of a yellow and black suit hanging in the Bat Cave.
So far, all of the Rebirth titles have delivered, and Batman #1 is no exception. King and Finch appear to be very comfortable in their new roles. This offering is fresh enough to warrant the Rebirth branding, but remains familiar enough to keep fans of the Snyder/Capullo run interested.
Review by Brendan AllenPlease follow and like us: