Tom King is proving with each issue that he can hoist a Batman story on his shoulders. Not only is he carrying a solid Batman story right now, but he’s doing it well. He’s experimenting with a “flaw” of Batman’s which is his lack of powers. Some people refuse to believe that Batman is a superhero. Sure, he’s one of the most popular superheroes ever, but casual fans snicker at the idea of him beating anyone with powers. I’ve had numerous debates with people about this. “There’s no way Batman could beat Superman?” If Batman was real he’d probably say something like, “Actually, there are at least 74 ways I could outlast Clark.” The dude is a freak. People forget what he did after his parents got shot. He didn’t just curl up in a corner and cry for 10 years before becoming the Dark Knight. This is why I love Batman Begins. It gave us a really cool origin, but we saw Bruce towards the end of his journey. It’s known that Bruce left Gotham when he was around 13-15 years old. He didn’t become Batman 25 years old. That’s at least 10 years of exerting yourself physically and mentally. Some of us couldn’t do it, but Bruce Wayne did. He was determined and didn’t return until he was confident in his skills. He knew that Gotham wasn’t going to bend to his will, so he made his will unbreakable. I don’t know why people forget that when talking about Batman. Still, they forget about his intelligence saying it isn’t “real.” Neither is a ton of things in comics but whatever. It’s an easy subject for King to tackle. Other than the plane in the first issue, nothing has brought Batman to a point of complete uselessness. Maybe we’ll get into that later. But in this issue we got something I didn’t expect to get for a while. The origin of Gotham and Gotham girl!
The only reason I didn’t think we’d get an origin of Gotham and Gotham Girl so early is because the first two issues seemed focused on a continuous moving story. King takes a step back here to give us more background on our two new heroes. I fell in love with the two of them in this issue. It starts with narration from someone talking about the city. I knew it wasn’t Bruce. The person’s narration is talking about Gotham. They compare growing up in the heart of Gotham to living in piss and smoke. That no matter how much you want to gag when you breathe it in, you accept it because the city is you. You are connected to the city in ways you may or may not understand. It’s a cool concept. People in big cities hold this mentality in real life. Some people couldn’t fathom living in some of the roughest neighborhoods/cities in the world. To the citizens of those cities though, they are the city. Its struggles represent their struggle. When the city wins, they win, even if they don’t physically gain anything. It’s a deep sense of unity. We’ve heard Bruce talk about Gotham before but it was cool to read this narrators version. Throughout the narration, a family is being mugged. It looks similar to Bruce’s family, except no one dies. Batman saves the family. He’s a younger Batman and I LOVE reading stories about younger Batman. The main reason is because he’s so chatty. He tells the family that they’re going to be scared for a while but it’ll be okay. He says, “But remember, all that means is everyone gets the opportunity to fight that fear. Everyone gets the chance to be brave.” Batman dropping jewels! I love that quote and it’s one of my favorite Batman quotes honestly (when he told the Talons to get the hell out of his house in Batman vs. Robin is another one of my favorites.) We then learn the narration was coming from the father from that family. The father is talking to an FBI agent (Bruce) about his kids and how they were affected by the mugging. We get a little montage of Gotham and Gotham Girl helping people and training. Bruce has all he needs so he leaves their parents and Alfred lets him know about a bomber on the bridge. Gotham is holding up the bridge by himself! The page looks amazing. King then plays around with the narration from earlier. Same tone but this time, it’s revealed that Hugo Strange is talking. He says he is better than Gotham. It was revealed last issue that Hugo Strange was involved in all of this mess somehow. Batman then reveals to Gotham and Gotham Girl he knows their identities. Gotham lights up because he knows that he and Gotham Girl are starting to impress their hero. This is a cool moment because if Batman was real, I’d sign up in a freaking heartbeat! Gotham has waited for that moment where he could be of use to his hero his entire life. The art of the smile is simple, but its impact is plentiful for sure. The moment is ruined soon after when an explosion catches their attention. Gotham and Gotham Girl go investigate. They find Hugo Strange with someone he introduces the Psycho Pirate, master of all emotions. He says, “His, theirs…yours.” His ugly goggles are looking directly at Gotham. The issue ends there.
This was the first Rebirth issue where I was like “I need the next one now!” King has a lot of options here. I’m nervous now Gotham and Gotham Girl are going to get mind controlled into destroying the city. It would be a terrible turn of events. Especially since Batman is just starting to trust them. I tell you what though, if King kills these two characters after such a good origin I’m going to be pissed. They are coming into their own. After this run, I’d go pick up a Gotham and Gotham Girl comic, hell I’d write it if they didn’t want to. I applaud King for humanizing these two though. Hopefully we don’t witness their destruction in the next couple of issues.
The art here looks really good. The yellows and oranges are used here again. They make all of the characters pop. Batman’s suit looks cooler the more I see it. I love the subtle changes to the armor and cowl. The yellow trim around the bat is a nice touch as well. Each issue seems to get better and better in terms of artwork. I highly recommend checking out this title if you haven’t yet. Never too later to get on board. Batman will have his hands full if Hugo Strange gets a hold of Gotham’s two new heroes.
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Until next time everybody!! Peace, Love, and Comics!