Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Gotham City: Year One #1 Review



Written by: Tom King
Art by: Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Phil Hester
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: October 4, 2022

Gotham City: Year One #1 travels back to 1961 when a secret crime pulls Private Investigator (PI) Slam Bradley into the Wayne family's circle of influence. Can Slam solve the crime before he becomes the villain's next victim?

Is It Good?

Slam Bradley isn't a name you hear all that often (unless you're a Weird Science podcast devotee, as all good comic fans are), so it came as a surprise when the announcement dropped about a Slam Bradley series written by Tom King. Needless to say, I had concerns.

Well, this first issue isn't bad. True to form, King does what King does best when he's blatantly copying other stories or real-world incidents, and this first issue is no exception. Right down to the ladder and poorly written notes, Gotham City: Year One #1 is a DC-versioned retelling of the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping. Instead of the Lindberghs, it's the Waynes. Instead of a small army of police and the FBI leading the investigation, the investigation is held in secret with Slam Bradley at the center.

Does that make for a great comic? TBD. The circumstances of the Lindbergh kidnapping are practically identical, so any thought of originality surrounding the crime is gone. Therefore, the creative weight falls on Slam Bradley's tough-as-nails shoulders. Does Slam's presence add enough of a twist to get readers excited? That depends on your penchant for slightly fictionalized True Crime stories.

In other words, King's penchant for lifting other stories and applying a new coat of paint leads to generally mixed results. Here, you don't even get a full coat. Right now, this is a wait-and-see.

Hester and Gapstur, on the other hand, give their all with moody, dramatic shadows for the full detective noir treatment. This comic is as visually hard-boiled as they come, so if you're in the mood for rough detectives stalking the mean streets of a city gone sour, you'll enjoy the art.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Gotham City: Year One #1 effectively retells the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping set in the DC universe. The story mimics the real crime down to exacting details while putting Slam Bradley at the heart of the investigation. If fictional history crime stories are your cup of tea, you might enjoy this. For everyone else, it's a wait-and-see to find out if King injects more originality into the premise.


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