Has Batman formed a militia? And is that right?
More than once superhero comics and the movies have pointed out how maybe the villains are created by the heroes. If the heroes didn’t exist would there be a need for supervillains? What if the heroes formed a militia? Would villains build their own to match? This issue aims to answer that question.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“FALL OF THE BATMEN” part one! Everyone in Batman’s orbit is broken somehow–some more than others. For Clayface, keeping the pieces of his psyche together has been a years-long struggle…and it’s a war he may be about to lose! And as the team tries to pull itself back together, their enemies have learned something from Batman’s newfound spirit of cooperation…and have formed a cabal of their own!
Why does this matter?
James Tynion IV has crafted one of the most original runs on Detective Comics since he’s taken the singular Batman and given him a team — a team filled with familiar faces, but also some unexpected (and fun) additions like Clayface. It has paid off as far as giving readers something a little different, but the idea of a team of heroes unsanctioned from the government protecting the city changes things dramatically.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
He’s not wrong.
This issue opens with Michael Akins taking over as mayor and making it clear he won’t say no to help from Batman, but his recent team isn’t as welcome. A single vigilante is one thing, but Tynion IV makes you wonder if the mayor is right. How far can you take this idea of a team of heroes technically breaking the law before the entire governmental system is at risk? Of course with it comes to some doubt as far as Akins deserving the role of mayor and whether or not Batman’s team is really that dangerous, but that’s for the reader to mull over.
This issue also revolves around Tim joining back with the team after being kidnapped. It’s clear his addition to this team is shaking things up, which we see Batwoman discuss in an interesting convo between her and Tim. Tynion IV does a great job planting the seeds as far a team of villains working together to combat Batman and his crew. There are actually two seeds planted in this issue, though one of them ends up being ended with a satisfying twist. You might think it’s a false start, but it ends up making the cliffhanger all the more entertaining.
Joe Bennett’s art is solid and captures the joy, anger, and frustration on the characters’ various faces. There are 4 full page splashes all doing different things effectively. From a joyous kiss to a group of villains strutting their stuff it adds to the dramatic beats of the story.
Villains sure are copycats.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The dialogue is very wordy here and at times it becomes a chore to get through. Particularly when Stephanie Brown aka Huntress is talking to herself. There’s a lot of dialogue throughout the issue, but on one page specifically, Steph is dropping a ton of exposition as she talks to herself. Not very realistic or entertaining.
Is It Good?
Save for some slower portions with heavy exposition and too much dialogue this is a good first issue. Is Batman wrong to form what is basically a militia? Whether or not he’s wrong, it’s bound to change the makeup of this team going forward.