Batman, Volume 1: I Am Gotham by Tom King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Full confession: I have not been keeping up on Batman in a while. Part of it is due to simple fatigue of all the rebooting and retconning that both DC and Marvel are doing these days. A larger part was that Batman v. Superman managed to kill my bat-enthusiasm for the character. (A feat that even Batman & Robin didn’t manage to do. Nice work, Zack Snyder.) But I saw Lego Batman recently, and it pepped me back up enough to give this a go even though I had no idea what the recent Rebirth did to bat-world.
As I expected, I was confused. Who is Duke Thomas? Is he a new Robin? His outfit doesn’t look like Robin, but he seems to be filling the Robin role. Wait, Bruce references Dick Grayson so I guess he still used to be Robin? Oh, there’s the Jason Todd outfit in the memorial tube so that probably means that the Death in the Family storyline happened, right? Or is he back from the dead and a bad guy again? But if he’s back from the dead then why does Batman still have a memorial to him?
Putting aside all that nonsense this wasn’t half-bad. After a one issue fight with Calendar Man the larger story shifts to Batman meeting two very powerful superheroes calling themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl who seem dedicated to helping him protect the city. Since the first thing they do is save Batman’s life things start well, and Batman kinda likes the idea of having powerful allies not named Superman around to help out. But it’s Gotham City so things go sideways and all hope is destroyed.
It’s a decent enough story, and it ends on a cliffhanger that’s got me interested in what happens
next. The art is pretty good and I like this new Bat-suit. (It is new, right?) This also is a version of Batman that walks the line between dark avenger haunted by tragedy and an actual comic book superhero who does comic book superhero kind of things. The dynamic between Bruce and Alfred was a very well done, and I particularly liked a scene in which they’re essentially saying goodbye as Batman is in what he thinks will be his final moments.
Not too shabby. Now I just gotta figure who the hell Duke Thomas is.
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