Saturday, June 18

Batman: Gates of Gotham #1 of 5 (7/11)

“Part One: A Bridge to the Past”

This is to be a miniseries to explore the past of Gotham City, supposedly laying the groundwork for upcoming stories as well. I'm not sure exactly how that's going to work out given the post-Flashpoint shift that's coming, but it is written by the current writer of Detective Comics, Scott Snyder, who seems to have been the most forthcoming in saying that for the Batman franchise everything we currently know should still be part of the characters' histories, and he is moving over to the flagship Batman title come September. Anyway, the Batman of this series is Dick Grayson, mainly working with Tim Drake Red Robin. Damian shows up late in the Bunker. Notably, Cassandra Cain (the former second Batgirl – nobody really counts Bette Kane before Barbara Gordon, do they?) but now the Batman Inc. agent in Hong Kong, shows up as well. There is a large and fairly vocal group of Cass fans out there, whose hopes were dashed when the latest relaunch of Batgirl gave the mantle to Stephanie Brown; I'm not one of them. I liked the character, and consider the path they took her on a few years ago to have been really crummy, but was really indifferent to the prospect of her going back to Batgirl. I've really liked Steph. Which is all beside the point here. So far either one's been noticeably absent from any announcements for September going forward.

As to this story, the “Gates of Gotham” refers to an archaic term for the bridges connecting the island to the mainland, all originally built by founding families of the city – now being blown by agents unknown. The families mentioned here are the Cobblepots, the Waynes, and the Elliots; the tag for the next issue is, however, “The Four Families of Gotham!” A solid first issue for a story arc but in no way a done-in-one.

The art? Meh. Not really to my liking. I don't mind Manga-esque art per se, but I found this sketchy and distorted, and hard to follow in a couple of sequences clearly “written” in such a way that the art was supposed to tell a clear sequence of events. Maybe I'm simple, but it didn't carry me. The static cover image is kind of cool, though. (Come to think of it, in general composition it's like the latest issue of Batgirl – the hero in front of stained glass, this time a roundel of various allies of the Bat.)  Here's an "uncluttered" image:

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