Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Gotham City: Year One #4 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: January 3, 2023

Gotham City: Year One #4 finds Slam Bradley suffering the consequences of Helen Wayne's murder as the city officials cry out for blood in retaliation.

Is It Good?

Gotham City: Year One #4 shifts the detective noir mystery from "where is baby Helen?" to "who killed baby Helen?", and all eyes are pointed squarely in Slam Bradley's direction. Tom King is nothing if not consistent by putting his main characters through the wringer, so in true King fashion, Slam Bradley gets beaten page after page by the cops and private security. I suppose sadism has its place.

When last we left Slam Bradley, he made the shocking discovery of Helen Wayne's body buried in a backyard. Without leads or witnesses, all the GCPD can do is lash out Slam in anger for "causing" Helen's death by not disclosing his leads sooner. The Wayne family picks up where the GCPD left off - to punish Slam for withholding information.


Of course, it wouldn't be a detective story if there wasn't at least one femme fatale and clues leading to a surprising culprit. You get that here, courtesy of Mrs. Wayne and a surprise visit from the mysterious Queenie to pull back the curtain on the real culprit.

As detective noir stories go, this is fine. The DNA for a proper, classic detective noir story is fully present. The pacing and gritty dialog established the smoky, sultry atmosphere, and Hester/Gapstur's art style perfectly fits this material.

One last note. King throws in a few surprise Easter Eggs to imply this story has a greater connection to Gotham City and the Batman mythos than previously known - e.g. the origin of Crime Alley's nickname and an alteration to Bruce Wayne's family tree. Easter eggs can be fun, but here, they bear little weight to the story and have no impact on canon, should anyone try to claim it does. In short, the Easter Eggs are mildly interesting but shouldn't be taken seriously or as factual.

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 #4 uncovers the truth behind Helen Wayne's murder and gets the main character, Slam Bradley, beaten up... a lot. All that's left to do is find out how Slam resolves the murder while keeping the Wayne legacy intact, so we'll see how it goes. In the meantime, this issue is a serviceable time waster.


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