Bryan Lee O’Malley
Restarting The DC Universe was something everyone knew was coming. The New 52 Universe as a whole was classed as an absolute failure. Most of the 52 original series’s were cancelled early on with only the big hitters staying strong.
Arguably the strongest of The New 52’s Universe was Batman. Reason? Two names: Snyder and Capullo.
The end of that duo has come to a close however. Snyder still writes Batman but instead of the main series, he is writing All-Star Batman with the highly competent and infamous artist John Romita Jr.
That left people wondering who would write for the new main series? Who could possibly take over from where Snyder left off? Tom King.
Tom King may not be a comic book house hold name, his latest work before Batman included The Omega Men and Grayson. But now he has been given the honor of writing Batman and if he succeeds well, then he may end up joining Snyder in becoming a quintessential Batman writer.
No pressure right?
The story much like Snyder’s first New 52 Batman story introduced new characters.
On the verge of a heroic death, Batman is ‘saved’ by two new superheroes: Gotham and Gotham Girl. At first we know very little about these characters except that they can fly, they are stupidly strong, in fact they seem to mirror a lot of Superman’s abilities.
Batman is faced with a dilemma, it’s Batman’s usual dilemma; can they be trusted?
Batman knows the limits of being just a man, the walls that come up with having no powers, the ease of pain and death. He does contemplate the idea that these two ‘heroes’; Gotham and Gotham Girl could succeed in ways he feels he was ever able to.
Things are made complicated (of course) when famous villains come out to play.
You have to give King some credit, it’s his first story arc with Batman and for all intent and purposes, he knocks it out of the park.
It’s not perfect of course with a few little things holding the story back from being amazing. In the third arc there are a few things that happen off panel, we are meant to assume certain things have happened because that’s what has been told to us, but actually seeing these confrontations take place would have led to more empathy and understanding of where and why the characters are the way they are.
Now, a comic book writer is nothing without a good artist to express his vision and King is blessed to have somebody as good as David Finch to bring his story to life.
Finch has had a history of drawing Batman with his previous work being the Batman: Dark Knight series and it’s clear this man knows what he is doing. Gotham is just as much a character as Batman and some of the art here is top notch. Each characters psych is well presented in each panel, whether it be a panicked Gordon or a distressed Alfred, we feel what they feel because the art is so well done.
Everyone is naturally going to compare King’s work with Snyder’s and King is obviously aware of that. Tom King is not Scott Snyder so if you’re expecting that then maybe just read All-Star Batman. Tom King is however the man responsible for Batman Vol 1: I Am Gotham. A good, sometimes great story that shows clear confidence in the future narrative to come.
It’s a worthy read for anyone calling themselves a Bat Fan.
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