– by Emmanuel Gomez

From the very first and second issue of Tom King’s Batman I have not for once believed that Gotham and Gotham Girl were going to stay on as the heroes they claimed to be, for me I felt that there had to be a twist in there somewhere. Maybe their power source was going to manipulate them somehow, or maybe they were even just playing Batman the whole time in a bigger scheme. Leave it to Tom King to use a not very well known villain to bring out the worst in Gotham and Gotham Girl.

   We begin this issue at the same place we left off just some time after. At this time Batman is walking through a mess of dead soldiers and a very scared Gotham Girl who is crying in a corner. Then we find Gotham somewhere else in the city re-creating a scene from an issue of All-Star Superman. He fails to try and save the man as he detonates himself as well as the first responders on the roof his last words “the monster men are coming”. Back in the Batcave, Gotham Girl is still trying to control her emotions as Duke and Alfred try to calm her down while Batman is in search for Gotham. Batman tries to reason with Gotham on the bridge as he is desperately trying to “fix” the bridge. Batman tells him that he thought that he could be the hero that he could never be going as far as to say:

   “I go down with the plane… you lift it out of the air”

Words that I thought would knock some sense into Gotham, but with his emotions also very unstable Gotham proceeds to throw a steel beam at Batman destroying the Batmobile. Through some very Batman like detective work they figure out that Amanda Waller is behind this, and in fact is in Gotham hidden and as General Lane tries to comfort himself that Batman can never find them, Batman is in fact already in the room. It is here where Batman learns about a project to try and stabilize Gotham due to events such as Zero Year, two Joker attacks, the Court of Owls and Bloom. Using Hugo Strange and Pyscho-Pirate they were going to try and take control of the many villains of Gotham. But like a lot of Amanda Waller’s plans, it didn’t work out. Strange betrayed her and used the Pirate to make Gotham and Gotham Girl crazy. While talking about the dead solider, Waller reveals to Batman that there weren’t 27 dead soldiers but in fact 28. This is where Batman realizes where Gotham and the missing solider were, Gotham’s parent’s house. The solider had faked his death on the scene and in a rookie move, Gotham took his mask off revealing his face to the solider who proceeded to take a photo and run it through task force x’s database revealing his identity and his parents. Also out of control the soldier proceeded to take revenge and kill both his parents. Batman tries to empathize with Gotham with no success as he proceeds to snap the soldier’s neck and fly away. As he does he proclaims that if he can’t save Gotham, he will destroy it before it hurts anyone else.

   So far this is my favorite issue of the series, King’s writing as Batman tries to reason with Gotham on two occasions is phenomenal. Although we had seen Batman gives the green light to Gotham and Gotham Girl to be heroes in Gotham and with their back stories although checked out, it wasn’t until his conversations with Gotham in this issue that I understood in fact how much he trusted them. It got me thinking that if any of the others in the Bat family were to have heard his conversations they would be incredibly jealous and probably hurt by the fact that they got his approval so quick. It got me thinking also that maybe he was even pondering retiring? That was just a thought. I didn’t think that this story needed Amanda Waller, I feel like she was almost forced in due to the fact that she is starring in this weekend’s release Suicide Squad. I would have been content with Hugo Strange being behind the Psycho-Pirate. Talking about the Pirate I find it surprising how much damage he and Strange have caused only being in the book in two or three panels so far. I am very interested to see where this goes and how Batman is going to not only return both Gotham and Gotham Girl to emotional stability, but also is he going to be able to trust them again? On a quick side note, Finch continues to do an amazing job on this book, great facial expressions and overall I really like the way he draws Batman. Hopefully next issue we get a little more on who are the Monster Men.

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Tom King

Artwork: David Finch

Inks: Sandra Hope & Matt Banning

Colors: Jordie Bellaire