I’ve said before in previous reviews (go check them out if you haven’t) that Batman is probably my favorite character ever in fiction. The pain and torment he puts himself through to save a city that truly isn’t worth is mind-blowing for sure. For years, we’ve seen Batman find ways around the fact that he doesn’t have powers. His genius IQ is the main reason he’s able to do this, but the man is resourceful no doubt. There are times though, in movies, and in comics, where Batman himself realizes he can’t do anything. In the Justice League cartoon, when Darkseid would make his presence known, Batman stood down. He used his brain to help beat the ruler of Apokolips. Same thing happened in the most recent movie, Batman v. Superman. Batman is no fool. What was he doing when Doomsday was jumping around trying to blow everything up? He hid. What did he do when Doomsday’s energy blast wiped out everything in sight? He hid. Meanwhile, Superman and Wonder Woman ate the blast like it was a freshly prepared omelet. That’s the genius of Batman as a character. He knows his limitations because he’s a logical thinker. Fear and pride don’t usually dictate his actions. When they do, well we get some of the best Batman stories of all time.
In Batman #1 Tom King was sending a signal to the world. The signal said, “I get it, I’m not Snyder. But welcome to my world.” King showed that he knows what a good Batman story involves. There was action, emotion, and comedy in the right moments. To give a little recap, in issue #1 a plane is about to crash. It is hit by a missile, and heading directly for the city. Batman, being the cool guy he is, maneuvers the plane with his thrusters from his ejected seat of his car. However, there is a 0% chance for him to get off of the plane in time to escape death. Right before Batman meets the Grim Reaper himself, two new characters save the day. Gotham and Gotham Girl. I was interested to see where King took this story. Can Gotham be saved by someone without powers? Batman’s intelligence is a power in its own right and I figured our new heroes would figure that soon enough.
The issue starts off with our new heroes fighting a Batman classic, Solomon Grundy. He’s doing his usual chanting and what not. Batman comes in to stop Grundy soon after. Batman tells the new duo that they almost let a man get killed. He says they would have gotten to Grundy in 1.3 seconds, but Grundy would have trampled a nearby man in 0.7 seconds. Sometimes I wonder if Batman is lying just to get under people’s skin, but he has no need to. Our new heroes automatically see the type of genius they’re dealing with. Batman begins to leave but Gotham sucks up to Batman a bit. I have no problem with this but in my head, Gotham sounds like Ant-Man when he met Cap in Civil War. Completely full of admiration to the point it’s a little weird. He asks Batman what they are doing wrong. He asks how they can get better. I was hoping for a bit of a scuffle or ideology mix up between them, but it may be coming in the future. The issue moves along and Batman reflects on his own mortality. He watches the recording of the plane incident. Alfred is pleading him to go and entertain the guests that are downstairs. Alfred will always be a staple of comic relief, but it’s never too much because he doesn’t intend to be humorous most of the time. A man then comes into Gordon’s office to confess to letting Solomon Grundy out of the convoy. He says something about Monster Men coming to Gotham. Then, the man slices his own neck.
Batman then gets the call from Gordon regarding the incident. Gotham and Gotham Girl show up too. She hasn’t said too much in this issue. Gotham seems to be the one who admires Batman the most. Anyways, Batman tells Jim that the two are trustworthy. Is fear operating Batman now? Is he succumbing to these guys because they want to help? Or is it simply because he doesn’t know how to beat them yet? I find it interesting, because I don’t trust these two at all yet. It’s odd, but understandable why Batman has trusted them so quickly. Death makes cowards of us all. Gordon asks them about the Monster Men. No one has a clue. Batman then does his disappearing act. Gotham is confident he will still be able to find Batman, but he can’t. Gotham Girl can’t either. They are using all of their powers, but can’t find him. Gotham utters the words, “It’s impossible.” Gordon begins to walk away. He says, “It’s not impossible kid. It’s Batman.” I love this line because now they understand what Batman is all about. He doesn’t care who you are, you’re not learning his tricks. This is a funny moment too, because Jim doesn’t let anything surprise him anymore. It’s almost kind of sad how numb he is to everything nowadays, but it is nice to see he can joke around a little bit, even if he’s not trying too. The issue ends with a man going through a series of tests. He’s being shown pictures of himself in different emotional states. A person is asking him is he’s happy, as a picture of him smiling is being shown. The man responds yes. The same thing happens with anger, sadness, and fear. The man replies yes to all of them. The man asking the questions is revealed to be Hugo Strange. He’s with a military officer and Amanda Waller. The officer says, “Congratulations Mrs. Waller. You’ve finally saved Gotham.” She replies “Well, someone had to.” This obviously raises a lot of questions. Are Gotham and Gotham Girl lab rats? That would make sense. Is Amanda Waller their creator? I don’t know. I like to dive into a story head first. I only focus on what’s in front of me. I usually never try to guess what’s coming up in a story (I had no clue Han was going to die in Force Awakens. That’s how into it I was in the moment!)
Overall, I loved everything about this issue. My only complaint is Gotham being too much of a boy scout when it comes to Batman. Can’t hate that too much though. If Batman were a real person and I got a chance to meet him, I’d lose my mind. So it is understandable. The artwork in this issue to me is better than the last one. I love the huge amounts of yellow put in on the majority of the panels. It gives this series its own unique feel. Tom King is showing us what his Batman story looks like. Are there similarities between him and past writers? Of course, hard to bring a brand new twist to a 75 year old character, yet alone a twist DC would allow. So I love the whole “Batman isn’t a real superhero,” thing because he’s completely aware of it. Is it a soft spot for him? Will it make him vulnerable? King might be setting up something epic with the inclusion of Hugo Strange and Amanda Waller. I can’t wait to continue reading this run. Until #3!!
Hope you enjoyed the review. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ll be reviewing every issue of Batman so stay tuned for that. My Twitter is @Hero_Review so follow that to keep up with any news updates I talk about. Until next time everyone!!