In Tom King's Batman series, the city of Gotham is as much a character in the story as anyone else.
King seems to be addressing just how the city itself affects its citizens, both in negative and positive ways. Typically we see Batman's city in a rather depressing light, a city that constantly eats its own with Batman acting as the lone beacon of light.
In King's version, the city has its flaws, but it also inspires people to fight against it, and in a way to fight for it, to conquer what scares them and channel it into something beneficial to humankind. It's honestly the most inspiring use of the city in quite some time, even if it hits overly familiar tones.
In issue #3 we finally find out just who Gotham and Gotham Girl truly are, and to say it mirrors the origins of a certain Bruce Wayne would be severely understating it. In fact, it's so close to his origin that I initially thought it was yet another retelling of Bruce Wayne's transformation into Batman. That might be viewed as a negative, but the parallel works here, at least to me. Why else after all their other successful efforts and achievements would they come back to this cesspool of a city. It's a double-edged sword to use something so familiar, and it won't work for everybody, but ultimately I came around to it.
It doesn't hurt that the two heroes are extremely earnest in their want to help Batman, and it helps to sway the reader into caring about their characters.
If I had a critique, it would be the use of Hugo Strange as the apparent adversary. He's great in the right hands, but I'm truthfully just a little over the character at the moment. Still, the inclusion of a certain emotion controlling ally could be enough to get me on board with it, but we'll just have to wait and see.
As for the art, David Finch, and Jordie Bellaire continue to put out some fantastic visuals. Finch's Batman is striking and powerful, and when Batman springs into action there's a heft and weight that accompanies his movements. Plus, Finch has always excelled at working with heavy shadows (see his Moon Knight for proof), so it is right in his wheelhouse.
Both Batman and Detective Comics are hitting on all cylinders at the moment, and in a relatively short span, Tom King has managed to get the reader invested into his two new creations, which is not a small feat by any means. This book continues to be worth a spot on your monthly pull-list.
Rating 4 out of 5 Stars
Written By: Tom King
Drawn By: David Finch0comments
Inked By: Danny Miki
Colored By: Jordie Bellaire