Written by: Tom King
Art by: David Finch, Sandra Hope, Matt Banning, Scott Hanna, Jordie Bellaire and John Workman
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: August 17, 2016
I have totally fallen in love with Tom King's Batman. I've also fallen in love with Gotham and Gotham Girl and even when it seemed that some fans and reviewers were yelling for more mindless action, I was so happy to just get to know these new heroes. Of course, any time that I fall in love with a character, shit goes wrong almost immediately and that's what happened once again. Psycho Pirate and Hugo Strange showed up to make a mess of it all and last issue ended with Gotham putting Batman in a corner and nobody puts...I think you know the rest. So, I couldn't wait for this issue to arrive, but I still went into it with some trepidation. Would this be the end of Gotham and Gotham Girl and could my fragile heart take it? Let's find out...
The issue opens up with Gotham arriving downtown and Batman calling Alfred. I'd say that the shit has hit the fan, but that isn't big enough for this. How about a huge shit has hit a really big fan?!? I'm not the most imaginative person, so that will have to do! Batman needs some time to get to Gotham and calls on Alfred for a little help. I won't spoil what that help is, but it is one of my favorite things in the whole world and is usually reserved for the Batman '66 television show.
Tom King is one smart cookie. He surely knows that throwing Jim Werner's favorite thing into this issue would throw off the tone drastically, so he has Alfred go through a little improv monologue that at first fell right in line with the "Alfred is an ass" theme we've seen over the first four issues of this book, but actually, fits in just right. It's very dark, but has a wry sense of humor to it, while also showing the weariness that Alfred no doubtedly has gone through over the years. He is still not off the hook, but he is getting closer. This all leads to a confrontation(s) with Gotham and the thing that keeps coming up is the fact that Batman is just "a man in a mask".
Tom King's idea of what hero Gotham City deserves has come to a head here. While we all know that Batman is the chosen one, Batman actually thought different. That, coupled with the knowledge that Gotham was actually a good guy, makes everything that follows all the more heartbreaking.
While Batman begs Gotham to stand down, he throws everything at him (literally) and while Duke and Gotham Girl watch from the Cave, the Dark Knight goes into desperation mode. It's something that we've never really seen ever and Alfred even questions it. SHIT JUST GOT REAL!!!
Back in the Batcave, Gotham Girl realized what is actually going to happen and freaks out a bit, but luckily Duke is there for her. If you have fallen in love with her as much as I have, you surely got choked up here.
Things don't ease up at all as Gotham and Batman say their goodbyes and Gotham shoots his heat vision and...I can't go and spoil it, right? Remember when I said that Tom King gave me one of my favorite things earlier in the issue? Well, he has now shown me something a little bit more awesome. It wasn't my favorite before because I've never seen it, but believe me, it's my favorite now! It also doesn't seem like enough, which is crazy! Batman turns to Gotham Girl and we find out everything. EVERYTHING! That's when the issue turns it up to eleven and blew me away.
Batman pretty much makes himself a target by proxy and I'm sure that some will say he was goading Gotham on, but I think he means everything he says. In fact, I'm sure that he is quite willing to die for his City and his sins like he should have at the beginning of this arc. I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that Batman doesn't die here, but wait until you see what does happen. WOW!
Can you tell that I loved this issue? Well, I did. I loved it so much. I loved it while smiling. I loved it through tears. It's that good and if anyone says different, I'll slap them in the mouth. Don't test me! I have been fully onboard this book from the start and this issue just made me feel like I was right the whole time. It was about the journey and the destination and I can't wait to see where Tom King takes us next.
David Finch has willingly taken a back seat to let the story have the limelight and he continues that here, but don't let that fool you. His art is fantastic and fits the emotion and grittiness of this story so well. Hopefully, him and the art team are allowed to come out of the shadows a bit going forward because as great as the book has looked, I know he can do even better!
Bits and Pieces:
This is my favorite issue of Rebirth so far. It's also one of my favorite issues period and one of the best payoffs to an arc that I've ever read. It's that good...trust me! Highly Recommended.