Illustrator Bernard Chang puts on his writer’s hat for a new story arc that takes us back to Terry’s initial return to the Batsuit during the period of Neo-Gotham’s recovery from Brother Eye’s attack.
“GOTHAM GAMES” part one! Set in the time just after Terry McGinnis returned to his Batman role, this non-stop, all-out action issue pits him against a gauntlet of villains. While Gotham struggles to put society back in order, someone has taken over the city’s defense system, turning it against its citizens. Unable to fly, Batman’s forced to battle an array of old and new villains at ground level. Don’t miss this story written and illustrated by Bernard Chang!
What’s the skinny?
Terry once again finds himself walking the fine line of balancing his personal life with the role of Batman. Max and Matt are participating in The Gotham Games, a unification effort for the city of Neo-Gotham that’s slowly recovering from Brother Eye’s recent attack. Terry is desperate to attend and show his support, but unfortunately for him there’s an aerial defense system left over from the attacks that’s been compromised and is preventing much needed supplies from being flown in.
Bruce Wayne designed the aerial defense system and as a failsafe included three manual shutoff points located around the different levels Neo-Gotham. Shutting off three computer consoles should be an easy job for Batman but acquiring physical access to the manual shutoffs proves to be the real challenge. Three villains new and old await Terry at each location and they’re not very interested in talking.
What’s the catch?
Beyond the initial inclusion of the Gotham Games as a plot point and to illustrate the difficulty of being a super hero with a personal life, I didn’t see why Max and Matt were present in this issue. The panels involving them were well drawn but watching bits and pieces of a youth basketball game felt out of place in the larger story.
Is it good?
As usual Chang does a fantastic job in the art department. I particularly enjoyed the way The Hacker and Shriek’s powers where drawn — for instance, Shriek’s sound based powers were always shown with a rippling wave effect that really added to how powerful I perceived him to be. It was almost like watching a fighter jet breaking the sound barrier. The Hacker’s use of his powers were always accompanied by a lattice work of lines and symbols that complemented his math/science/computer based abilities wonderfully.
You see a two page spread in almost every comic, big deal right? Well Chang used the panels in a way to give us three separate events happening across three sections on one two page spread. I can’t recall the last time I saw someone do this so well in a way that made the flow of the story feel so natural in this format.
This is my first experience with a comic that has Bernard Chang in the writer’s chair. It’s always exciting to see someone you admire take on a new challenge. I have to imagine Chang’s familiarity with the character helped him here, as he wasn’t afraid to begin an arc with numerous balls in the air. While the dialogue for Batman felt a bit stiff at times, the characters more than made up for it. Three villains, one of which is brand new and everyone was tossed a brief origin story. While the overarching story is fairly simple, it’s a great start and I’m excited to see where Chang goes with his new character.