GRAPHIC CONTENT PICK OF THE WEEK: Lonmonster – ‘Batman: Gates of Gotham’ #2

A month ago Gates of Gotham #1 was my pick of the week, and I see no reason to change that this month. It should come as no surprise to say that Gotham is one of the darkest and most corrupt cities in the entire DC universe. Somewhere in the past, a heavy shadow fell over Gotham, inviting sinister villains to lurk in the darkness. This shady and enigmatic past is exactly where Snyder and Higgins (Detective Comics) are going in the already acclaimed mini-series, Gates of Gotham. Snyder and Higgins work their magic once more to take Bat-fans on a wild goose chase into the past of Gotham, before it was overcast with shadows and run by the criminally insane. As this will be one of the last times Dick wears the Batman cowl, there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to ignore this Bat-book. Read on for the Skinny…

WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins
ILLUSTRATIONS BY: Trevor McCarthy

“Murder, mayhem and the building of an empire! Issue #2 throttles up the action as Batman tries to find the source of the attacks before the killer can strike again. But with the reveal of the fourth family of Gotham City and an old case from the early days of the city, is Batman playing right into the villain’s hands?”

It’s safe to say that Snyder and Higgins are no longer up and comers, they’re full-blown superstars now at DC Comics, receiving praise across the board. Snyder’s been on fire for the past few months with Detective Comics and American Vampire (someone tell this kid to slow down before he hurts himself!). Now Snyder and Higgins (who deserves equal praise) bring us Gates of Gotham, which could prove to be Dick’s toughest, and final, challenge as the Caped Crusader. Snyder and Higgins drag Batman along to uncover a mystery that will reveal Gotham’s dirty secrets, and the seedy past of its founding families. As Dick Grayson and team, discover the mystery linking past and present, a new killer is on the loose, and nobody has any idea who he (or she) could be. Last month’s issue set up the initial murders, and it’s only a matter of time before more blood is shed. Expect things to get a little grittier this month as Dick further uncovers the history of Gotham.

McCarthy has been away from the Batman scene for a while, taking time to improve his artwork, and I assure you it’s paid off. It’s always a treat to see artists maintain a sense of quality throughout every panel of the book, and McCarthy does exactly that. Whether it’s a close-up of Batman clenched jaw, or a wide-shot of the Gotham City skyline, the art is consistently dark, crisp, and beautiful. However, what really stood out last issue was how perfectly McCarthy captured Penguin’s face, using all sorts of angles to showcase how sickening Oswald Cobblepot really is. Not since Danny Devito has Penguin looked so right.

As the creative team behind Gates of Gotham hinted, Gotham truly does feel like its own entity in this story, something that Dick is struggling to keep under control. Although things are just heating up in this mini-series, it’s clear that there won’t be a lack of shock or suspense throughout the run. Batman is already on his heels, and he’ll need all the help he can get to solve this case. Bringing all the major families into the mix offers something we’ve never seen before in Batman comics, and it’s a heavy task, but if anyone’s up to it, its Snyder and Higgins.

Any Bat-fan knows how sordid Gotham is, but nobody really knows why. This is exactly what Higgins and Snyder are trying to answer in Gates of Gotham. I can’t wait to see how creative team weaves the threads of the past into the present. Expect to see Batman in some rough places as he dives headfirst into a mystery that’s bigger than he (or we) can even fathom. If you passed up on the first issue, you should be ashamed of yourself, and hope your local shop still has copies left. In all honesty, no Snyder book on stands today should be passed up, and this is no exception. But, what really sells this series is the undeniable fact that this is one of Dick’s last stints as Batman, marking the end of a monumental era. Before Dick returns to his respective title as Nightwing, dive into the past with him and discover the history of the most notorious criminal city in all of comics.

“BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM” Issue #2 Drops Wednesday, June 22nd From DC Comics! (MSRP – $2.99)