With Tom King winning the Harvey for most promising talent this past weekend, how can you not pick up possibly the most emotionally charged issue in this series yet?
Batman #6 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official DC summary reads:
“I AM GOTHAM” epilogue. In this stand-alone tale, Batman seeks redemption as he tries to keep Gotham Girl from going down a dangerous path. But can the Dark Knight save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?
Why does this book matter?
Seriously, Tom King won an award this past weekend that basically means if you adore comics in the slightest you should be checking this series out. It’s his first stab at Batman and so far it has been fascinating as he’s drawn in a story about superheroes of Gotham who lose their own life every time they use their powers.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Okay, so she’s off her rocker.
This issue is all about Gotham Girl and the fallout after losing her brother in the last issue. She’s still fighting crime, but she’s talking to herself and appears to be a bit off her rocker. As she fights crime talking to herself Batman watches in the shadows, Duke watches from the cave, and there are some hard choices to make before she does something regrettable. It’s never directly explained why Batman allows her to go on being a superhero, but based on the sheer emotion and pain she’s going through it’s evident Batman can relate to her dealing with loss.
Which is why this issue is so darn good. Batman and Gotham Girl connect on a level most folks wouldn’t understand and it feels genuine. She’s grieving and truly all alone, and Batman does the most heroic thing he can–giving her a shoulder to cry on. The issue basically shows us Gotham Girl fighting a few different crimes as a coping mechanism, which gives the action a psychological pain at its root. This all drives towards the final page which charges the choice to figure out where the culprits of all this pain are to bring them to justice. Essentially the entire issue is a powder keg being filled so as to give the next turn of events a point.
Ivan Reis takes over for David Finch on art duty in this issue and his work is both detailed and eye catching. The man has a keen sense of when to make Batman just a man, a superhero, or something godlike. You can see it in the image below with Batman’s eyes dehumanizing him and making him scary. The page below shows us Batman’s strong looking exterior is attempting to look scary because he’s so unsure about Gotham Girl and the threat she poses. Later, there’s a fantastic action sequence with Kite Man (you read that right!) that follows his actions through a posh apartment and he actually looks pretty damn cool. Gotham Girl looks frightening at times, or in crazy amounts of pain when she needs to be.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This series continues to have a decompressed feel that’s odd because while each issue is satisfying, by the end you’re left wanting more. Not a lot happens in this issue–maybe more so than in previous issues–because so much time is spent showing us Gotham Girl unhinged. After the second time we get the point and I’m not sure we are given enough new information or examples of her behavior changing in each check in with her. That makes this issue feel repetitive more than anything.
Batman, you scary!
Is It Good?
Batman #6 is at its core all about pain and how you deal with it. Tom King connects Batman’s pain to others which feels incredibly genuine and purposeful. The events in this issue all lead towards a major turn, which gives the new direction all the more meaning.