Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Batman #4 Review


City Guys

Written by: Tom King
Art by: David Finch, Sandra Hope, Matt Banning, Jordie Bellaire and John Workman
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: August 3, 2016

I have been enjoying Batman more and more with each passing issue and it's not because of Batman.  Nope, I have fallen in love with Gotham and Gotham Girl and can't wait for a nice long run with these two crazy kids as Batman's side...what's that?  Last issue's cliffhanger.  Well yea, it didn't look great for our heroes, but I'm sure that their run-in with Psycho Pirate will work itself out, right?  I mean, what could possibly go wrong?  Well, I guess that's why we are here.  That and to decide if the issue is good by assigning a number to it at the end and then moving on to the next one.  Boy, I am getting sad now.  On to the review...


The issue opens up with a bloody scene.  Not a bloody good scene...just a bloody scene.  Actually, it's a pretty damn good opener as well as Batman is at the scene of last week's cliffhanger.  The problem is that there are a couple of big characters nowhere to be found and most of the remaining ones are straight up dead.  Dead by the hands (or eyes?) of a very super powered character.

We then get to see said character in the next scene and Tom King makes me fall in love with him all over again.  Yes, I'm talking about Gotham and he is already trying to make things right by saving what appears to be a suicidal jumper.  In a great callback, he tells the man all about fear and how to defeat it just like Batman told him as a kid.  Unfortunately, Gotham is having one horrible day and the guy turns out to be one of these Monster Men wackos blowing up the city.  I guess all the bridges are taken care of, huh?



It's then off to the Batcave where Batman has taken Gotham Girl for some R&R which includes another round of Alfred being a real fucking asshole.  I'm sorry if you disagree, but I've had enough. I hope that Tom King has something up his sleeve with how he is portraying Alfred because if this is just Pennyworth being Pennyworth, I hate it.  I HATE IT!!!!  I have some hope as we finally get a little Duke Thomas and he seems to be the light to Alfred's darkness and comforts Gotham Girl.

Unfortunately, duty (and Batman) calls and Duke has to get to work figuring things out as Batman confronts Gotham.  The new Superhero is still trying to make things right, but as Batman tells him, he is just going to make things worse.  He does destroy the Batmobile in anger, but then flies off when Batman asks him about the 27 guys he killed.  27?!?!  Remember that number.

This is where the story gets a whole lot of exercise jumping to conclusions.  Duke figures out that Amanda Waller and her Task Force X is involved by adding up dog tag numbers.  It's a cool thing on Duke's end, but why would Amanda Waller set things up this way?  Why would you leave any sort of clue as to what's really going on?



We see that Batman is going to go right to the source for answers and in the best scene of the comic, shows the reader (and Sam Lane) how badass he really is.  Amanda Waller remains cool as a cucumber and after watching Batman smash Lane's face into a concrete wall, explains why they are doing what they are doing.  I understand the why (it's the age old "Does Batman create his own villains and trouble?" argument), but the plan with Psycho Pirate and Hugo Strange still seems a bit off to me.  Oh well, it looks like Waller and Batman are teaming up to take both of them down and that sounds like a whole lot of fun to me.

The scene ends with Waller telling Batman that 28 of her men were killed.  28?!?!  But I told you to remember 27!  What gives?  The issue ends with the reader finding out what happened with this one extra guy and it leads to a really gut wrenching scene that just might be the beginning of the end for one of my new favorite characters.  It breaks my heart to tell you that I loved every bit of this ending scene and am 100% into this story.



It really feels like Tom King is exploring the whole "One Bad Day" concept on a super powered level.  I've tried not to spoil too much, but I'll tell you that Gotham City is killing Gotham the hero and it looks like he is about to fight back.  In the background, it looks like Tom King is also showing us that a dark city like Gotham can only ever be saved by a Dark Knight like Batman, but he is going to have his work cut out for him this time.

David Finch keeps upping the ante in the art department every issue and while he still seems to be letting the story get most of the limelight, the art this week kicked ass.  It's gritty, dark and emotional which matches the tone of the book so well.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue shows that Tom King has a little more in store than just giving us a book with heroes and villains chasing each other around.  Even the concept of "villain" is thrown into a gray area by how you look at things and Batman is caught right in the middle of it.  Right now it's Gotham vs Gotham and I'm not sure who is going to come out on top.

9.0/10
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26 comments:

  1. Seeley and King continue writing the top Bat books. The rest are alright.

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  2. That was intense as fuck. Kind of shows how twisted Batman is that he hasn't gone crazy yet . How does this ONLY have a 7.4 right now on the roundup? Are people reading something I'm not?

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    1. I am perplexed! I think this story is getting better and better. I agree with you, this issue and story so far is perfect to show that Batman is less crazy than we thought and may not be the best hero for Gotham (which the guy in the plane in issue #1 was yelling), but is the only one who can survive. Poor Gotham and Gotham Girl...they had the best intentions, but one bad day...

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    2. It was an easy 9.5 for me. I think some of these people giving King shit haven't hopped off Snyder's dick yet. He was ok. The reason everyone is so high on it is because the vast majority of the other new 52 books sucked ass.

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    3. I agree Jose...I do think it's a bit of a Snyder hangover thing going on

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  3. Loved every bit of this and was on the edge of my seat with suspense the entire time. Might need to read it again though just because I felt like I read it so fast and I was a bit confused with the 27 to 28 transition and events.

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    1. reread won't help that...I loved the issue, but this knocked a bit off the score...bothered me that both Gotham and Batman find out that a Task Force X soldier survived which could only lead to him finding out who Gotham's parents were and killing them. The other thing was wondering what Amanda Waller had to gain by having the dog tag numbers lead to the discovery of Task Force X?!?! What is she, the damn Riddler now?

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    2. Glad I wasn't the only one confused. I was just trying to read the issue and so caught up in the suspense that I let it all slide but thinking about it afterward really had me bothered. Plus didn't they only add up to task force x because the one person was missing? It all just seemed weird and convoluted just to force a detective aspect to it. I'm also kind of confused about some of what took place between Gotham and the soldiers. I'm just kind of confused by this issue overall, but I loved reading it.

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  4. I've liked the Batman books up to this point. But I've been waiting for Vision Sheriff of Babylon Tom King and now we've got it. This was an amazing book! It was a very layered story with many moving parts that all complimented each other really well. I was all-in after the last issue, but this issue removes any doubt that I had. Gotham and Gotham Girl are developing into really interesting characters and I can't wait to see how the Suicide Squad fits into this whole thing. The Batman book is everything that the Justice League book isn't.

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    1. agree 100% These last two issues have been stellar and have me totally onboard...any theories why these last two have been rated so poorly by other reviewers?

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    2. It doesn't make any sense. The only thing I can think is that these books aren't Snyder and Capullo. So many people are brainwashed into listing that run as the best ever and rating King's run poorly helps their argument. But I'm not even sure that they're doing it intentionally. It's just that many critics only know the Snyder run and think that it's the only representation of Batman.

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    3. Jim: In regard to your question, this is a good book but it took me about 5 minutes to read this issue. I'm really having an issue with the bi-monthly format. Nominal events are stretched out while important character moments (like this issue) are condensed. It's like they don't know how to write for this time frame yet.

      And where are these ratings you speak of? I mean literally, where are they? On this site?

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    4. I agree the writers and possibly editors are having problems with Bi monthly pacing. The ratings I speak of are from the site comicbookroundup.com which is my fav site of all-time since I'm a ratings and reviews whore

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  5. Those Comic Bastard are talking a bunch of bull@&$# over there, wherever they are. I almost thought you were gonna give this issue a 10 Jim but I agree the Duke stuff seemed forced. Still can't get over that those Bastards gave this issue a 4.0.

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    1. This site gets really circle-jerky, huh?

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    2. Just like a stripper in a frat house!

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    3. I enjoy a circle jerk now and again...usually on the weekends

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    4. Though to join in, you have to let us know your name...background checks and stuff

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    5. Circle jerks and rusty trombones....can't beat it :)

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    6. throw in a dirty sanchez and we got ourselves a picnic!

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  6. You know, when you consider that two issues ago Batman told Duke, "I don't even trust Alfred.", it was actually nice to see Bruce display some genuine emotion and get upset at the sight of Gotham killing that soldier right in front of him. I really get the impression that Batman has complete compassion for Hank and Claire, and Bruce's ability to maintain any kind of emotional attachment and relationships to other characters (not named Clark or Damien,)is an aspect of the character that has been all but completely absent in all of the Batbooks for the past several years now.

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    1. I agree...I think the fact that Bruce has compassion and trusted Gotham and Gotham Girl is another great wrinkle to this story...even though the last scene made me think of obi wan yelling " you were the chosen one"

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  7. While I liked the issue a lot...i was not a fan of them recreating shot for shot the all-stat Superman suicide scene!

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    1. I thought that was great...it goes with everything else showing that good intentions and bought superpowers aren't always enough to becoming a superhero and Tom king really is showing a twist to the one bad day idea, imo

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