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Tom King steps away from Batman this week as Joshua Williamson begins his four-part story “The Price”. The series deals directly with the Sanctuary fallout serving as a tie-in to that series as it crosses over between Batman and The Flash. In this first issue, Batman is hiding something, and the Flash is well aware something is fishy.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“THE LAST COLD CASE” part one! The two greatest detectives in the DC Universe take on the one cold case that will tear them apart! As chief architect of the Sanctuary program that cost so much for so many, especially Wally West, Batman will be held accountable…by the Flash!
Why does this matter?
If you’re loving Heroes in Crisis you must read this to get an even fuller picture of the event. I don’t want to spoil anything, but a key hero Tom King created comes back in this event series too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Williamson writes a tight script for this issue, making sure we’re well aware of the emotional state Batman is in with the knowledge of Sanctuary falling apart being his fault. At the same time, Williamson integrates Flash’s big sidekick loss and how the two have a very complicated relationship right now. There is plenty of action in this issue, serving to mix in the superhero heroics with the emotional story that is underpinning the events taking place. Williamson also integrates a key hero from Tom King’s Batman run quite well and she plays the part of unhinged yet well-meaning superhero.
Guillem March draws this issue with colors by Tomeu Morey and together they bring a darker tone to the story. March plays with a sketchier style to convey loss, frustration, and deep anger Batman is feeling throughout the story. It helps convey how he can barely hold it together and at the same time refuses to accept help from other heroes. It helps that Batman hasn’t slept and clearly hasn’t shaved in awhile adding to his rougher around the edges look. March opens the issue with a dark scene in a morgue with Batman coming to grips with Wally West’s murder. This cuts to a banger double page splash with the entire Justice League fighting off Amazo bots. For a darker toned Batman comic, this issue doesn’t let you forget it’s also an action superhero book either.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
It’s unclear why the main antagonist attacks midway through the issue. One can make a guess, or just wait till the next issue to find out, but it makes Batman being aware of the attack before it happens extra confusing. What is this superhero trying to achieve? Does it tie into the guilt and loss Flash and Batman are feeling or is it ancillary and coincidental? That element is lost here.
Is it good?
This story arc opens with a good mix of action, guilt, and a cliffhanger that should be hugely impactful. Williamson and March certainly make a case for what “The Price” is and there will surely be lessons learned.
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