Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin and Tony Daniel
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire and Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Gotham is now under the control of Bane and Flashpoint Batman, Thomas Wayne. Like some fun house mirror version of the norm the villains are in control. Former rogues have become officers of the law as Batman and Gotham Girl patrol the streets. None of the former Batman’s allies are allowed in Gotham until…
This story contends with two parts. On one half there is Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle discussing a possible return to Gotham. The other half features Damian Wayne taking on the rogues, Gotham Girl, and the new Batman. Robin’s story is all action while Bruce’s story focuses on dialogue and mood. While Robin is taking out Gotham Girl Selina Kyle is making Bruce breakfast. There is a duality here that both build toward a climax and push the narrative forward to something new.
I really liked half of this book and thought the other half was just decent. Tom King has some of the best writing I’ve seen of Damian and shows a respect for the character we rarely see. Many people play off Damian as a brat, but since Morrison’s Batman and Robin he has outgrown that character. Sure he is a bit more aggressive and has an ego, but he can usually back up his words. Tom King has Damian expertly taking on the new Gotham that shows that he is the son of the bat. The fight scenes with Gotham Girl, Scarecrow and Zsasz are really fun. There is some of the trademark comedical wit with rogues turned detectives that makes the entire exchange worth picking up this book alone. However, Tom King slows the book down with the Bruce and Selina moments. It does help balance the book, but these scenes have played out in earlier issues and just cannot match the pace of the other story. Worse yet, the book ends on the Bruce storyline rather than the far more impactful climax of the Damian arc.
The art works the same way as the writing. I have always been a fan of Tony Daniel’s work (Batman RIP is one of the great arcs the character has had and Daniel’s work helped) but his interiors on the Selina and Bruce moments stood in stark contrast to Janin’s depiction of the new Gotham. A great artist can be overshadowed if their strengths are not played to and, worse yet, their weaknesses are highlighted compared to another artist on the same book. There is nothing bad about the work here, it is just not Tony Daniel’s best. He doesn’t seem like he is having fun or able to show off when he is just drawing Batman and Catwoman sitting around talking. Janin is able to draw some of the best Damian material I’ve read and seen and every single panel lets the reader know the artist is having a blast with the material.