If a new superhero with superpowers came to Gotham would the people even need Batman? Tom King appears to be answering that question since taking over the Batman comic, but from the very start I’ve wondered who these super powered people are. In this issue we find out! Is it good?
Batman #3 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official DC synopsis reads:
“I AM GOTHAM” Chapter Three: Batman and Gotham strike out together to get to the bottom of the mysterious attacks against the city. Could this novel and headstrong new hero be everything Gotham City needs…at the cost of the Dark Knight?
Why does this book matter?
Tom King has established in short time he’s one of the best in the business. David Finch is known for his hyper detailed art and that rings true here in Batman #3 as every ripple of muscle and ruffle of clothing looks super realistic along with a heavier inked look that suits Batman. Together they make up a duo that a primo title like Batman deserves.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Tom King has not one, but two extremely effective captioned sequences in this issue that do a great job at misdirecting the reader. This issue is very good at misdirecting visually too as we open on a boy with his parents who are attacked by a man with a gun. The event reminds us of Bruce’s parents dying, but things are not quite the same so we know it’s not a flashback to his childhood, but mimics it enough to mean something. We then get a full sequence of events showing us a brother and sister who learned something about fear from Batman and used that to become better. In a way, we’re getting an alternate sort of origin to Batman’s that’s similar, but just different enough to be its own. Anyone hoping for a well told and fulfilling origin story for Gotham and Gotham Girl are in for a treat in this issue.
On top of that we get some Batman: The Animated Series vibes via Bruce going in disguise, giving speeches to those who need them, and Bat-gadgets at work too! There’s a rather neat way Batman uses his jet to save people on a bridge, as well as a nifty way of hiding the bat motorcycle.
Damn Bats, you look gooooood.
There’s also another effective sequence with King’s captions that talks about the seemingly constant attack and destruction of Gotham. Again, this uses misdirection to make the reader question who is talking and in effect make the reader come to their own conclusions about what it means. When we find out who’s talking it becomes clear there’s a grand scheme in the works and Batman is going to need his new super powered Gotham heroes to win the day.
In the grand scheme of things it’s clear King is establishing a goodness in the new Gotham heroes that Gotham may not deserve. At the very least, Gotham might just chew them up and spit them out and based on the cliffhanger we may be in for quite a tragic turn of events. Considering Batman is warming to them – and even drops a bit of dialogue so as to let them know he knows who they really are – it’s clear King is setting things up for one dramatic turn.
Finch’s art continues to impress. I particularly like how he draws Gotham and Gotham Girl’s costumes and the double page spreads are extra fantastic due to his detailed style. You haven’t seen a crumbling bridge look this good let me tell you. Batman’s gadgets and vehicles look exceptional too…not to mention Batman too! One of the best moments involves a villain who’s not even in large panel, who is pretend cowering. The body language says it all and it gives the reader the impression our good guys are in a lick of trouble since the bad guys are making it loud and clear they have no fear of them.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I don’t know if I read this issue extra fast, but it felt over quicker than it should have. Ultimately not a lot happens in the issue since much of it is spent revealing the origin of Gotham and Gotham Girl, but even still it’s a brisk read.
This seems familiar.
Is It Good?
We finally get the 411 on who Gotham and Gotham Girl are and it’s a satisfying origin that is strangely similar to Batman’s. It’s clear King is setting things up for one hell of a blow to Batman as the Monster Men loom. Batman #3 is a master class in captions and origin stories