Friday, April 24, 2020

Batman: Gotham Knights #1 Review

Simple but Effective

Written by: Brad Meltzer, Sal Giunta, and Larry Hama
Art by: Jim Lee, Mirko Colak, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair, and John Kalisz
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: April 22, 2020

It has been a little while since I last posted my last review due to the ongoing situation with the Coronavirus, but I’m happy to be back for this small issue and I hope all of our readers are doing their best to remain healthy during this trying time. We are back with a digital-first issue as DC has released a small duo of stories that honor our men and women in uniform. I will be breaking the review into two parts and will rate them separately before putting the scores together for the final score. Let’s jump into this issue and see where they take us.

Medal of Honor
Written By: Sal Giunta, Brad Meltzer
Art By: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair
Letters By: Chris Eliopoulos

This short story has a small surprise to readers once they get to the end but we will save that until we reach it together. Our story begins with Batman upon the rooftops of Gotham. His view of the city is interrupted as he hears the call of “Shots fired!” and immediately races to the scene. There he finds the GCPD engaged in a firefight with the Joker Gang. Two officers are knocked down in the hail of bullets and a third gets hit before Batman is able to intervene and charge headfirst into danger in order to get the officer to safety. Batman is hit once in his armor and another bullet shatters his weapon. 

The officer informs him that there are two more that are wounded ahead and Batman charges into action with a member of the GCPD backing him up. The two use the grenades that they have in order to provide cover and move up. They do this again and again before reaching the first wounded. The GCPD members grab him and tells Batman to keep going. When he finds the next person, he sees that it is none other than his friend Jim Gordon who has been taken hostage by two members of the Joker Gang. Without hesitation, Batman jumps into action and is able to neutralize the threat. He immediately runs to Gordon and finds that he is unresponsive. He tends to Gordon’s wounds. It is at the end of this story that we realize that this isn’t Batman’s story but rather the story of Sal Giunta, who received the Medal of Honor for his bravery and valor in Afghanistan. Almost all of the dialogue in this story comes from Barack Obama’s speech when he presented the Medal to Giunta in 2010. It honestly feels strange to actually review a story like this. We can look at the art (which is great) and try to read into the small bits of dialogue that weren’t part of the speech but ultimately, this is a story that should be honored and celebrated.


Honor Code
Written By: Larry Hama
Art By: Mirko Colak, John Kalisz,
Letters By: Travis Lanham

Our next story is one that features one of my favorite DC characters in Batwoman. While there are several choices from DC’s lineup of characters that could be used to tell this story, I’m personally happy to see Batwoman be featured considering her military background is such an influential part of her entire story. In one way or another, almost every decision Kate Kane makes is in some way influenced by this background so it’s nice to see her featured here. Our story begins with Kate being woken up in the middle of the night and given orders to move out on a secret mission. We catch up with her 48 hours later in the field with a new company that is tracking an insurgent by the name of Akbar. Kate talks to some local village women to see if there is any information she can get out of them. The soldiers she is with discussing her ability as she does so and while they seem to be apprehensive about her being a cadet in this situation but they seem impressed with her physical ability. Kate returns and reveals that one of the women let the high pastures location slip and they would do well to investigate. The team moves out and when we next see them, they are gathered around a campfire with some local shepherds. It doesn’t take long for Kate to find Akbar hiding among them and informs her C.O. about it but before they can isolate him, Akbar draws his weapon and a firefight begins. 

The shepherds turn out to be the insurgents and they are quickly taken down by the soldiers. However, a couple gets injured during the fight, and Akbar flees to a local cave. The C.O. commands Kane to follow as he tends to his men. Inside the cave, Kane eventually finds Akbar who opens fire upon her. Doing so though awakens the bats within the cave and they provide enough distraction for Kane to close the distance and knock Akbar out. She drags him back to her C.O. as they prepare for extraction. This was another nice short story that was enjoyable. While some things are a bit odd to believe (why would a C.O. send a simple cadet to follow the terrorist by herself?) the overall story is solid and simple. The story is nice to read and the art fits the story very well. We even see flashes of the hero that Kane will eventually become.


Bits and Pieces:

This digital-first issue shines a light on our special forces and does so in an incredible way. The first story, in particular, is very impactful especially with the reveal at the end and the short paragraph we got that told us the real story behind it all. We then got a nice story about Kate Kane and her past in the military which told a more traditional DC story and while it wasn’t perfect, it was simple and very enjoyable. I think I would feel confident recommending this issue to anyone.


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