“I thought you could save this city. Like I never could.”
A lone man standing on a ledge waiting for salvation. The adaptation of this All-Star Superman moment was crafted by Tom King for an endearing and thoughtful sequence starring Gotham’s own Gotham (a new character if you are confused). This image is just one of many moments from the past four issues that takes major influence from the works of Grant Morrison. While making use of Batman’s rich history, King has been crafting a wonderfully original tale that continues in another stellar entry. Though the villains are placed on the back burner this issue the story propels forward thanks to tense moments and eye-popping visuals. David Finch continues to bring his A-game creating a sharp and crisp presentation for what is shaping up to be an excellent addition to the Dark Knight’s own library.
Noticeably absent in this issue, the actions of Dr. Hurt and Psycho-Pirate reverberate through every character. As Gotham suffers due to manipulation at the hands of the Psycho-Pirate, Batman comes to his aid. This is a wonderful moment that gets across the Caped Crusader’s own hope that Gotham and Gotham Girl can succeed where he began, cleaning the streets of his home. The tension brought about by this confrontation makes for a great read, but one can’t help but wonder why King chose to leave the two villains introduced for this arc out of such a pivotal moment. The focus was clearly intended to be on Gotham and Batman but without the weight or repercussions of the overarching villain it fails to create any sense of threat or danger.The issue feels more like a couple of scenes instead of a well-rounded and self-contained story.
King continues to expand the cast with more supporting characters from the DC Universe occupying panels left and right. One particular cameo feels shoe horned, possibly only there to reference a major film release this week. Regardless every character is well-written and their dialogue clear and moving, most notable is the significant increase in personality for the character of Duke Thomas. Finally serving as both a useful and insightful asset to Batman, Duke finally gets his due. King clearly knows how to breathe life into formerly wooden characters. As the pages of Batman #4 continued to fill with supporters and enemies it can feel a little crowded. While Batman is still the star of the show, it feels odd to see him take a step back for the sake of other heroes especially in the pages of his own title. But Tom clearly has a plan, and it has more than begun to take shape.
Joined by inkers Sandra Hope and Matt Banning, as well as colorist and recent Eisner Award winner Jordie Bellaire, the art of Batman #4 continues to be some of David Finch’s greatest work. The gloomy and dark streets of Gotham are just as breathtaking as they’ve ever been. With Gothic architecture and deep rich colors this city is just as much a highlight as the character design and action that accompany it. Batman is an ever-captivating image reminding us once again why David Finch is one of the most influential artists to have ever drawn the cowl.
Batman #4 continues the high quality set by the previous issues. It remains one of the best titles on the shelves thanks to creative storytelling, compelling action, and relatable and sympathetic villains and heroes. The threads of a great tale are taking shape, even if Batman and his villains don’t seem to be around for the entirety of the story. The focus on the supporting cast and new characters seems an odd choice but King is a master at creating unique story elements and intriguing backstories. Some cameos and appearances can feel unwarranted and unwanted but it’s apparent the focus is to create an all-around excellent comic with nods to new and old. The true success of Batman #4 comes by way of the excitement and humor it brings about. It makes it next-to-impossible to wait for the next issue.
- Tension Building in Gotham
- Emotional Scenes
- David Finch's Pencils
- Not enough Batman
- Absent Villains