Last month Lonmonster and myself both chose “BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM” issue #1 as our pick of the week, and to stick with some sort of nonofficial tradition here at Graphic Content I suppose that it will be happening again this month with issue #2. That’s only half true, because my fellow staff writer and I just seem to have perfect taste in illustrated literature. Deep sarcasm aside (for now), Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins’ debut issue of the series was just as impressive as critics and fans everywhere had assumed it would be, and to put it bluntly the duo are single-handedly redefining the type of quality we come to expect each month out of a Bat-Title. Read on for the skinny…
“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?”
Recently it was announced that in the wake of the DC Relaunch campaign veteran scribe Scott Snyder (“AMERICAN VAMPIRE”) would be the new fulltime writer for the flagship title in the Bat-Family monthlies. A move that should not be overlooked in the slew of announcements surrounding the controversial event, and if there is a silver lining to be taken away from the entire thing then this should be it. While I am left (like many) with a bad taste in my mouth knowing that certain storylines (like “GOTHAM GATES”) will possibly be left rendered useless after the ubber-mulligan of a Relaunch, I am also left hopeful for the future of the entire “BATMAN” franchise as a result.
But let’s move on to the Belle Of The Ball, shall we? When “GOTHAM GATES” debuted last month I was one of the many who had gone on record in saying that the series would be a major success for the “DETECTIVE COMICS” scribe and the rest of the creative team. The title, just like all of Snyder’s other yarns, was brilliant in almost every capacity, and rendered a version of Gotham City that seemed fresh and unique. This is no easy feat anymore seeing as how the franchise has some 5+ titles running each and every month. But when left to the devices of creators such as Snyder and Higgins, “BATMAN” shows once again why he has stood the test of time as being one of the absolute best heroes in comics history.
The story itself is epic in scope, and introducing a new family into the world of Gotham is always a tough task, but you wouldn’t be able to tell after reading issue #1. The introduction of these characters and the imposition of the story into the Bat-Continuity is seamless. Another aspect that should be handed to the boys as a major highpoint is the decision to shy away from Bruce Wayne as a central figure, and to focus instead on supporting characters such as Dick Grayson and Tim Drake. Sure, there is nothing wrong with ol’ Brucey, but the interesting dynamic between the two ex-Robins is always a page-turner, and it makes the price of admission seem like a bargain. The chemistry is there with Dick leading the charge and Tim doing what he does best in support. In a Gotham City without the constant watchful eye of Bruce Wayne’s Batman major storylines such as this garner just that much more interest in that readers want to see how the rest of the cast react without Daddy looking over their shoulder. It also introduces a little more suspense knowing that our hero isn’t just one pep talk from his Butler away from kicking your ass and saving the day.
True to form, Trevor McCarthy shone once again on pencils for the first issue, delivering a dark and realistic feel to the characters and (most importantly) the city itself. Everything felt sharp and finished, and there were several instances within the series’ first issue that left you with goosebumps after looking at them. Case in point: when Dick Grayson was observing the carnage left after one of the many “Gates of Gotham” were demolished. Never once did it feel as if McCarthy was over-matched by the rest of his creative team, and that isn’t a very easy thing to accomplish when you are working with writers of the pedigree of a person such as Scott Snyder.
When all is done and read, “BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM” is merely a reflection of things to come. A bold and fresh new voice in the world of characters that really didn’t need any improvement to begin with. If “GATES OF GOTHAM” is anything before or after the DC Comics Relaunch then it is a battle-cry from a writer who is on the echelon of greatness. Scott Snyder may not have reached that tier of household name writers that frequently work on these books, but if I were a betting man then I would say he is going to be very soon. This is a very exciting time to be a Bat-Fan, and I could not be any more thankful for that.
“BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM” Issue #2 Drops Wednesday, June 22nd From DC Comics! (MSRP – $2.99)