New superhero Gotham is out of control, Batman is running out of options, and the city of Gotham itself is in terrible danger. Can this issue deliver a Gotham vs. Batman battle, and is it good?
Batman #5 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
“I Am Gotham” part five. In the final chapter of this epic, is Batman truly the hero Gotham City deserves—or does it deserve better? In this ultimate showdown, where the line between allies and enemies blurs, the question will finally be answered…and the fate of Gotham will be decided.
Why does this book matter?
Tom King has proven he can tell a riveting, slow-burn story that only leaves you wanting more by issue’s end. David Finch’s dark tone and detail have made this feel like a blockbuster title from the first page. What else could you want?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Funnily enough, the supporting characters steal the show in this issue; Alfred gets to be a hero and buy Batman time and Duke must help get Gotham Girl straightened out so she can help figure out how to stop her insane brother. We are reminded Batman is only as good as his friends when in a bind and boy does King drop a surprise on readers when it comes to his friends.
These friends bring the action, that is for sure, or maybe it’s better described as “being punching bags”. Gotham truly brutalizes a lot of characters in this issue – and while his power set seems to be tuned a bit too high – we get a satisfying clue as to the source of his powers. How they work is yet to be explained, but the terrible cost to be a super man is intriguing.
There’s also some nice humor in the issue too, from Alfred dry humor reminiscence about promising to care for Bruce if his parents ever died, to Batman’s inability to keep all his vehicles intact. It’s this element that continues to make this series feel like a good summer movie. King and Finch’s Batman has the action, looks like a million bucks, and gets bits of humor in there too. It’s flat out entertaining in more ways than one.
Speaking of art, Finch once again proves he can draw a mean panel that’s reminiscent of a movie trailer’s bombast. You’ll feel the heat of explosions, the kick of Bagman’s boot, and the speed of superhumans as they zoom about. Costumes look a bit more realistic with nice wrinkling and detail to remind us these are humans inside costumes.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The comic ends with captions with a certain character that certainly heighten the anticipation of the reader, but they feel unearned in the way they’re delivered. We’re supposed to expect what they say is true, which is hard to believe considering their mental state, so like a pulled punch it’s delivered but the force isn’t felt.
Alfred, don’t ever change.
Is It Good?
King’s Batman is proving to be the most exciting slow burn story ever. What I mean is, you’ll finish the issue feeling excited, think about what happened and realized not a lot actually occurred, but that’s okay — because you can’t help but crave the next piece of the story.