“The Price of Innocence” is a four-part story that started last week in Batman. Written by Joshua Williamson, this series is a tie-in to the Heroes in Crisis story of Sanctuary. Batman is reeling from guilt and Flash has lost one of his dearest friends. It’s a tricky time for both, which is why they really don’t need a Superman-like villain to deal with right now.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
A cold case from the Justice League’s past has mysteriously re-opened, and Batman and the Flash–the only two heroes who stand a chance of cracking the case–are at each other’s throats! Our heroes must combat a demon from the past while burying their own inner demons in the process…and neither the World’s Greatest Detective nor the Fastest Man Alive will ever be the same again! But who is really pulling the strings here? And how does Gotham Girl fit into all this? Friendships will be tested and blood will be spilled in this titanic crossover event…
Why does this matter?
This story not only involves Heroes in Crisis drama, but also weaves in a key Tom King-created character. It’s self-doubt and anguish for Batman thanks to both priming the pump for dramatic effect.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue delves into the fact that Flash and Batman are both detectives in their own right. Writer Joshua Williamson does an interesting job framing their perspectives on who is a better detective and to no one’s surprise (due to Williamson’s long tenure writing Flash) Williamson makes a case for Flash being even better. It’s an argument that is not only told but showed in how the two team up to follow clues in this issue. It’s also fun to see how Williamson weaves in both the pain they’re going through since the Sanctuary drama blew up.
The villains used here, which is no spoiler if you read Batman #64, are quite a fun addition to the narrative. Gotham Girl is quite erratic in nature and needs help, but when she has the powers of Superman, what can you do? Mix in her undying love for her brother and you have a recipe for a very difficult character to combat. Added to that is the fact that she sees herself as a hero, and possibly even an ally of Batman and Flash with a mysterious figure pulling the strings, and you have an interesting mystery to unpack in the next two issues.
The art by Rafa Sandoval with inks by Jordi Tarragona and colors by Tomeu Morey are excellent. Having reviewed many Green Lanterns I can safely say Sandoval is getting better and even in those issues he was great. Gotham Girl’s lunacy is on full display thanks to her cheery grins. The costumes look fabulous, especially Gotham Girl’s. There’s an excellent double page layout with two-page wide panels slicing down the issue that’s quite cool too maximizing the space well.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
There is a scene where Flash and Batman come upon drawings pasted to a wall. It’s a tad confusing what we’re looking at in the first panel and then later Flash seems to imagine Kid Flash’s costume where Gotham Girl’s is drawn. At least I think so. It made me do a double take and even flip back after I was finished to understand what happened. In this same scene, it’s never quite clear why Gotham Girl is collecting these things. One can assume it’s because she wants to be a hero, but I’m not immediately sure.
Is it good?
I’m digging this story and how it mixes the emotional turmoil of Batman and Flash into a bonafide mystery to solve. The story helps add weight to Tom King’s Heroes in Crisis story well further developing one of the more interesting new heroes in the DCU.