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Batman #2 Review

Gotham has two new superheroes protecting it and they go by the names Gotham (the male) and Gotham Girl (the female duh!). They can fly, have super strength, and generally have the power set of Superman. Maybe Gotham doesn’t need Batman anymore. Is it good?

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Batman #2 (DC Comics)

Rebirth continues this month and the official DC Comics synopsis reads:

“I AM GOTHAM” Chapter Two: In issue #2, after a brush with disaster, Batman struggles to reconcile the fate he could be leaving behind for his city, and reaches out to the idealistic new hero, Gotham. But an evil is building that may overcome both Batman and his new ally.

Why does this book matter?

Tom King is possibly the biggest breakout writer in two decades as he’s shown us with Vision, Sheriff of Babylon, and Grayson. He has a knack for well told single issues that have a satisfying beginning and end, but also pushes the protagonist, making for well told dramatic stories. Plus this series has artist extraordinaire David Finch!

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

New York exists in DC Comics right? If so, this is kind of a rip off.

If you’re at all interested in the upcoming “Monster Men” storyline you should be reading from this issue forward. Solomon Grundy makes an appearance in the opening pages and Tom King immediately shows us the difference between the new Gotham heroes and Batman. They’re powerful, but they’re also new to fighting, and Batman not only helps them by showing brutal force is needed at times, but also that they need to be aware of their surroundings. King shows us how naive they are later when Batman does his disappearing act and they’re in total shock that he was capable of such a thing (especially when they can see through the entire city). This issue reminds us one of Batman’s greatest abilities is his inability to quit and his thoroughness.

This issue essentially breaks down into five scenes, and each of the scenes does well to establish something different, focus on a different character or side of Batman, or set up a future issue. Basically put, King is very economical with his storytelling, giving us plot development, but also character developing moments, however brief. Take for instance a scene with Commissioner Gordon who is working late and asked when he’ll be able to meet with his daughter. After a bit of banter with his secretary we see a man who’s dedicated to his work, but still trying to be a good father. There’s a daily battle of work/life balance that’s a part of his life. In another sequence of scenes we get a new bit of backstory between Alfred and Bruce too.

Finch does quite a great job here, including a good dramatic scene for Gordon who has an uncomfortable meeting with a crazy person that shows us the “Monster Men” are not to be taken lightly. Gordon’s reaction to the man, the man’s calm demeanor and how the scene is laid out all work towards building up the impending threat incredibly well. Then we have the action sequence to open the issue which is easy to follow and quite good at showing how much of a badass Batman can be. Then when we see Bruce Wayne placating guests the body language and layouts again do well to remind us the gravity of the situation. The art is cinematic in nature and can handle the quieter dialogue heavy scenes and the action perfectly.

It can’t be perfect can it?

My only gripe is why Gordon and Batman are so chill with these new Gotham superheroes. Maybe it’s because they couldn’t do anything even if they wanted to, but it seems fishy that they’d just accept them and not ask any questions.

Though I know you don’t need answers up front to tell a good story, the cliffhanger is so light on explanations I wasn’t sure how to feel about the event taking place. I suppose we can feel like the wrong villain is working for “good” but what he’s doing, why, and to what end is not explained so it’s hard to have any feelings on the cliffhanger.

Whoa, somebody has been working on their triceps!

Is It Good?

A well paced issue that moves the plot of the “Monster Men” forward while delivering meaningful character moments for Batman and Gordon. I call that a huge success if I ever saw one. Moody, cinematic, and good economical storytelling.

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