Written by: Tom King
The Monster Men are Coming...Already?
Art by: David Finch, Matt Banning, Danny Miki, Jordie Bellaire and John Workman
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: July 6, 2016
After that crazy 5th Wednesday we just had to suffer through, it is so nice to get back to all of our Rebirth favorites. I know that everyone has their picks for best Rebirth book and I think that Tom King's Batman has gotten a bit of a bum rap so far. It's been really good, but it's Batman and people expect more from Batman. What? Urban surfing on a crashing airplane isn't enough for you? Are You Not Entertained?!? I have enjoyed it so far, but I'll admit, I'm ready for Tom King to kick it up a notch and give us more of Gotham and Gotham Girl and put the New 52 catch up completely behind us. Do I get my wish this week? As you'll see, sometimes getting your wishes granted isn't always a good thing.
If you are like Eric and myself and have gotten tired of the same old, tired villains in the main Batman book, you are sure to have a smile on your face as you open this issue. Solomon Grundy is in the house and he's fighting Gotham and Gotham Girl at the Statue of Justice. I hate the Statue of Justice, but I love Grundy so much and he's holding his own and saying his rhyme like a boss...until Batman shows up and ends the party. Boy, what a way for Tom King to start an issue and also show that once again, Batman always trumps superpowers.
If you thought that Gotham and Gotham Girl were going to show up all evil-like and cause problems right away, you're going to have to slam on the brakes, at least for now. Gotham tells Batman he wants to help THEIR city with Batman's blessing, of course. As if Batman doesn't have enough on his plate that he is going to be interested in training...what? Oh crap, it looks like he is going to train them.
I am so interested in learning more about Gotham and Gotham Girl and while I joked about it in my preview for this issue, why aren't we getting more Gotham Girl? I understand she is a sidekick, but she kind of just disappears at points.
Back at the Wayne Manor, Bruce obviously is still worried about both mortality and the city's well-being all while Alfred is kind of being a prick. I get that he needs Bruce to attend to the guests upstairs (another one of the Wayne benefits that is such a tired trope), but he just comes off nasty here.
We then head downtown to the GCPD where Jim Gordon is burning the (almost) midnight oil. His night gets more interesting when a man confesses to helping Grundy escape before slicing his own throat. The big thing here are his final words..."The Monster Men are Coming!" If you aren't aware, the Monster Men is the name of the crossover coming at the end of September, so seeing it already coming into play actually shocked me.
Of course, Gordon calls Batman right away (why can't we have the red phone?!?) and he decides to take Gotham and Gotham Girl along, much to Duke's chagrin. After some introductions, Gordon tells them the what's what and if Gordon doesn't think that the two newly arrived crime fighters aren't involved, then he could have fooled me. Batman still seems to trust them, however, and leaves them with Gordon after pulling his usual disappearing act. Speaking of which, Tom King is really forcing the issue here with Gotham and Gotham Girl perplexed with how Batman can totally drop out of their super sight. If he isn't setting something up for later, again, he could have fooled me.
The issue ends by showing us who the villain of the story is (Observe the clock, Batman), but it's who he is with that has me both excited and perplexed. It really throws a wrench into any theories I had.
Like I just said, the cliffhanger has me wondering what the hell is going on and I want to find out more right now! However, the rest of the issue did not wow me. Maybe I am still getting used to Tom King's pace or the story is being stretched a bit to fit the new publishing schedule, but it still feels like this story is dragging it's feet a bit. We do get a couple of big moments, but with each new issue of Batman, I am losing interest a little bit more. I don't want that to continue!
David Finch's art is another thing that has failed to wow me. It's good, it's just not great and after all the hype about him being on Batman, I wanted and expected great. Everything this week just comes off as bland and that does not help the story one bit,
Bits and Pieces:
Since Rebirth started, Batman has been a good, but not great book. This issue doesn't change things in that department and may take a tiny step backwards. Maybe I'm expecting too much right out of the gates, but I am struggling to find reasons to love Batman right now. The cliffhanger may hold that promise, but right now I very underwhelmed.