Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch and Matt Banning
Batman dares to ask a pretty simple, if obvious question in the midst of the Rebirth reshuffle: why does Gotham City need Batman? How is a guy whose superpower is preparation on the nth scale a better hero when you could have one of a half-dozen Supermen or Green Lanterns guarding the place? This issue fully introduces new heroes, Gotham and Gotham Girl, as the new fresh-faced heroes who rescue Batman from dying in an airplane crash, while leaving him to stew in his own human frailty for awhile. So far the tone veers more towards the Morrison run with Bruce Wayne being more cognizant of his mortality, and how Batman can repeatedly die: whether he’s Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson underneath the cowl.
While this issue isn’t quite as wall-to-wall action as the previous one, it doesn’t lack for interesting set pieces to give David Finch new ways to have Batman beat the tar out of something. Using a villain who typically isn’t someone you imagine as a Batman foe like Solomon Grundy to illustrate the scalpel vs hammer nature of Batman and Gotham’s methods of fighting is a great way to kick off the issue, as well as to illustrate just what it is Batman has to offer as well as to outwit people who can see through walls and punch plant zombies into orbit.
That said, the question to ask about any Batman run is what does it bring to the table? Grant Morrison kicked off his run by having the Joker shot in the face by a cop dressed as Batman and revealing he has a son by way of one of his deadliest enemies, Scott Snyder kicked off his run by having the then departing Batman Dick Grayson possibly involved in a murder, and Bruce Wayne as the target of an assassination. By comparison, Batman dealing with two new superhero companions, and a new sidekick when he has a half-dozen others in the tank could seem possibly sparse by comparison. But again, it’s all in execution, and this book has it in spades. Finch’s action-packed art, the fun and kinetic nature of King’s writing pull together, with a well-rounded cast of characters to give us the start of what might be one of DC Rebirth’s biggest successes, I’ll be following with heavy interest.
4 out of 5 Ultra-Visions