It’s hard to follow up on Scott Snyder’s critically acclaimed Batman run during the New 52. Although there were a couple story arcs that weren’t as good as the rest, his overall run was full of brilliant stories, some great new villains and the long story arc with Jim Gordon taking over as Batman for a while that was surprisingly brilliant. Although I don’t think this current run is as good so far, it feels like a worthy successor.
Batman 3, written by Tom King, delves into the past for Gotham and Gotham Girl, two new superheroes in Gotham City with the powers of flight, super strength and some sort of enhanced vision. The opening scene flashes back to the very moment that inspired Hank (Gotham) to become a superhero himself. It’s followed with a great montage of Hank and his little sister, Claire, spending as much time as possible helping those in need or training both physically and mentally. The parallels between their pasts and Bruce Wayne’s own is very clear, as well as the inspiration that someone like Batman can be for those he saves.
The rest of the comic mostly focuses on the main story, and how the “monsters are coming” terrorists are growing bolder in their attacks. The interactions between Gotham and Gotham Girl show a strong sibling connection, both in how they work together very well as a team, and when Gotham Girl occasionally teases her brother for how much he idolizes Batman. It makes for an overall fun comic, but one with an intense cliffhanger that promises a darker story to come. The writing is tight in this issue, and while I wouldn’t call the story great quite yet, it certainly has the potential to get there.
David Finch’s art is very good. Right from the opening flashback, there’s a lot of environmental detail in the streets of Gotham. A variety of buildings surround Hank’s family as they walk down an alley, with fire escapes clearly visible and cracks in the old bricks. The scene of the terrorist attack is complete with debris falling, pedestrians fleeing the area and a great sequence of events as Batman arrives to help the Gotham siblings. Facial expressions do a good job at conveying emotions, whether it’s the terror in Hank’s eyes when his family is threatened, the concerned look in Gotham Girl’s face when they see the immediate aftermath of the attack, or Hugo Strange’s evil grin as he’s watching the events unfold from his lair. The colouring by Jordie Bellaire is also great. Both in the darker scenes at night and the action scene at day, there’s a good balance of Gotham City’s overall brown look and a variety of colours on vehicles, characters’ outfits and the red glow of Hugo Strange’s monitors.
Gotham and Gotham Girl are quickly becoming compelling superheroes in their own right, and it’s nice to see Batman get some heavy duty help for once. At the same time, it’s hard to shake the feeling that something bad will happen to one of them, both judging by this issue’s cliffhanger and by the solicitations for further issues. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes from here. This series is definitely worth a look for Batman fans.