Monday, August 28, 2023

Batman / Catwoman: Gotham War - Battle Lines #1 Review



Written by: Tini Howard, Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Mike Hawthorne, Adriano Di Benedetto
Colors by: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letters by: Mike Hawthorne
Cover art by: Jorge Jimenez
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: August 29, 2023

Batman/Catwoman: Gotham War - Battle Lines #1 finds Batman waking up from an 8-week coma to a strangely quiet Gotham City after the Knight Terrors event.
Is Batman/Catwoman: Gotham War - Battle Lines #1 Good?

After a blistering year of too many events (most of which have been terrible), I can honestly say there's very little anticipation for yet another event. That said, Batman/Catwoman: Gotham War - Battle Lines #1 marks the start of a potentially interesting story. Using the word "event" to describe the Gotham War may be an overstatement, but the beginning has potential. The only thing stopping me from praising this issue are two serious flaws in logic this first issue doesn't address.

Tini Howard's and Chip Zdarsky's script centers on Batman waking up after a long sleep to discover crime is down in Gotham City. Way down. In Batman's absence, Catwoman took it upon herself to solve Gotham's big crime problem by training all the henchmen to become a better class of criminal with two stipulations - don't kill, and only rob the rich. With the henchmen off the market, Batman's rogues (Riddler, Mr. Freeze, etc.) have nobody to help them run their big-deal crimes.

Choosing to stop a fight before it starts, Catwoman calls Batman and the Bat Family together to explain her plan by leading with her results. Batman's hard-line approach causes him to react as expected, some Bat Family members don't know what to think, and at least one Bat Family member thinks the plan is nifty. When Catwoman's plan leads to deadly consequences, Batman is pushed beyond his limit.

When it comes to "realistic" challenges for Batman, there are two that make the most sense. You can challenge him with brute force, or you can challenge his adherence to his moral code. This event appears to be leaning into the latter. What better way to push Batman to the breaking point than to show him you can reduce crime with "safe" crime, much like a firefighter using a controlled burn to deflect a raging wildfire? From Batman's perspective, his mission is to eliminate crime, so showing him results that help him achieve his goal plants the seed of doubt and confusion in his mind over his effectiveness.

That's an interesting moral dilemma. Show Batman that his way of fighting crime is the wrong way, causing him to doubt his mission.

Of course, the "safe" crime turns out to be not so safe, sending the entire plan into a tailspin.

Unfortunately for the setup, getting the crime reduced and creating the conflict to challenge Batman requires two leaps in logic that don't make sense for this world.

First, if henchmen are committing higher-level crimes, the crime rate hasn't dropped by 75%. All Catwoman is doing is moving the crimes from one type of victim to another and spreading them out. The way Catwoman's plan is structured, you would have more henchmen committing crimes independently, so instead of one bank robbery under the Riddler, for example, you would have four or five smaller penthouse robberies committed by the henchmen Riddler would have hired to do the one bank robbery If anything, the volume of reported crimes should be going up.

Second, there's nothing stopping the Joker, Riddler, Mr. Freeze, or any other top-tier villain from hiring henchmen from outside Gotham City or simply pulling off crimes on their own. Mr. Freeze has never been one for stealth or subtlety, so he's just as likely to rob a bank solo as he would with a group of four or five henchmen. Further, if Catwoman was truly interfering with Joker's plans, it's a sure bet he would be knocking on her door in a heartbeat.

Put those points together, and you get Batman confronted with a moral dilemma that says crime could be solved with alternate methods in a scenario where those alternate methods realistically make crime worse. In short, the writers leaped to the resulting conflict without seriously thinking about how many flaws in logic they created to get there.

How's the art? Hawthorne and Di Benedetto are great artists, so there was never any doubt this comic would look great. If I'm being picky, Batman's cape looks wrinkled and disheveled while he's in motion, but the rest of the book looks fine.

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

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Bits and Pieces: 

Batman/Catwoman: Gotham War - Battle Lines #1 kicks off the Gotham War event with Batman coming out of a long sleep to find Catwoman solving Gotham's crime problem with a very un-Batman-like approach. The moral dilemma facing Batman is interesting, and the art looks great, but the plan that creates Batman's moral dilemma is riddled (*heh*) with logical flaws that lead you to believe the writers didn't think things through.



  1. What? That literally makes no sense. What is with the math on this one. If they are doing even more crimes, especially higher level ones, the crime rates go up. There are rules to crime statistics, and by reading this review you can only imagine the rates actually go up.

    Also solving crime with high level crimes is such a nonsense. All of them should be behind bars. With Jason and Selina the first one to go. Not to mention we had her like 5 years ago doing exactly same shit. Being a crime boss opposed to Gotham.

    The only positive outside the art, which I bet is magnificent, is that maybe, just maybe Catwoman will finally be outside Bruce's private life. Finally.

    1. when you see Tini Howard's name on anything, you really need to throw any reality out the window!

  2. Champagne Socialists thinking taking from the rich will solve crime.
    I expected no less from Howard.

    1. it is sad that she keeps on doing the same nonsense over and over