Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Gotham City: Year One #2 Review


Written by: Tom King
Art by: Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Jordie Bellaire
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: November 1, 2022

Gotham City: Year One #2 continues investigating the Lindbergh... err, Wayne kidnapping as the culprits single out Slam Bradley to be the dropoff man for the ransom. Will Helen be returned safe and sound, or is a wild goose chase just getting started.

Is It Good?

Let's play a game. Can you guess how Tom King can keep writing Bat/Cat stories without technically writing Bat/Cat stories? *Ding* Time's Up!

Tom King can keep writing Bat/Cat stories by dressing them like other characters. In Gotham City: Year One #2, Tom King does precisely that.

When last we left Slam Bradley, he received news of Johnny Boy's death, putting him under the suspicious eye of the GCPD. Now, Slam gets worked over during a police interrogation, gets pulled this way and that by a new ransom note, gets to deal with demanding Waynes who believe Gotham belongs to them and gets to contend with a mysterious femme fatale named Sue who can leap across rooftops "like a cat."

Tom King is an anomaly in that his writing is exceptionally skillful. The pacing is excellent, the detective noir tone in the snappy dialog and narration is on point, and suspense builds steadily as the ransom dropoff commences. Therefore, the anomaly of King's writing isn't in the skillful execution. It's in the themes and story meaning.

Slam Bradley is written here as Year One Batman, Sue is written as a proto-Catwoman, and the setup replicating the circumstances of the Lindbergh kidnapping takes the phrase "ripped from the headlines" to a new level. The skill and execution are all present, but the originality is absent. It's as if King can't write an original story, only cobble together retakes of other works or events.

Either way, this is a solid detective noir mystery as long as you ignore any obvious homages (and almost outright reproductions).

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 #2 is a solid detective noir story with plenty of twists, turns, and drama. However, King strangely morphs Slam Bradley and femme fatale Sue into a proto-Bat/Cat, which changes a potentially fresh idea into a reskin of an old idea.


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