“But I could always just talk to my Mother. She was the only one. The only one. And now. Then. She was… There was blood on her hands.”
The pain of tragedy can be one of the most formative emotions a person can experience. Events like that are the motivators behind some of the greatest and worst acts in human history. Superhero and supervillain origins are often accompanied by such tragedies. While the most grandiose of these tragedies in the comic world may be the destruction of Krypton, the most relatable and ultimately horrifying is the one that created Batman. What could be worse than being witness to the murder of your parents? Perhaps having to destroy your own brother for the sake of your city.
Gotham Girl is lost. Her grief and psychic manipulation causing her to continue to speak to the deceased brother that helped unhinge her world. Gotham Girl is in need. In Batman #6, the caped crusader lifts his cowl to reveal the pained yet unwavering hope underneath. He wants to show Gotham Girl that he understands her pain more than anyone. Not with some articulate speech; not with a grand and poetic gesture. With mumbled words, a hug, and the simple but assuring declaration: “I know.”
Tom King continues to shape his Batman by way of emotional dilemmas peppered with death-defying action. Taking an epilogue approach with this issue, he’s able to give a deeper conclusion to the “I Am Gotham” storyline while creating some breathing room for the “Monster Men” event coming soon. A deranged Gotham Girl is on the loose. But thankfully she’s not committing some string of crimes, she’s stopping them. But as Duke Thomas points out, in his brief appearance, overuse of Gotham Girl’s powers will bleed her life away. In order to solve this dilemma, Batman learns from his previous choices with Gotham to find a different approach for Gotham Girl.
It’s staggering to think that after seven issues of this series there’s still no central villain. King’s introduction of the Gotham twins was an incredibly interesting way to dissect Batman’s influence. While Batman himself was created from tragedy, the Gotham’s were inspired by their own rescue at the hands of the Bat. Through philanthropy and superheroics they sought to spread the same hope he instilled in them. Unfortunately, the responsibility can be too much for some. Due to Dr. Strange and Psycho-Pirate’s mental manipulation it seemed the Gotham’s were destined to turn away from good. While the brother did, the sister sat on a precipice above both the light and the dark in need of help. A job suited for Bruce Wayne and not Batman. A quiet monologue shows Gotham Girl, Claire, that sometimes all you need to do is just talk. Thanks to another incredible script by Tom King, Bruce has a new ally and the DC universe has a new hero.
Ivan Reis’s pencils help bridge between the preceding work of David Finch and Mikel Janin’s upcoming arc. One of DC’s greats, it’s no surprise everything from the costumes to the architecture is refined and eye-catching. Reis is equally deft at creating both explosive action and peaceful intimacy. A necessary gift considering the wide range of emotions at play in this story. Joined by veteran inker Joe Prado with Oclair Albert and Scott Hanna, and colorist Marcelo Maiolo, the art team perfectly captures Gotham and it’s brooding Dark Knight.
The biggest events in comic history revolve around death or creation. Writers and artists using either to make their mark on established fictional icons. Tom King’s run begins with the creation of the Gotham duo and ends with a reflection on Batman. How has his work affected his very own city? Tom King’s “I Am Gotham” has no definitive answer to that question. Yes, he strikes fear into the hearts of criminals. Yes, he inspires others and saves countless lives. He’s either an ideal or a hunter on a metaphorical pedestal in the eyes of every citizen. In reality he’s an incredibly flawed man doing what he thinks is right. When he sees a murderous titan on a rampage he faces him head-on with the help of the Justice League. But when he sees a grieving girl working herself to death he gives her the emotional support she deserves. With such a vast display of emotions at play it’s no wonder why King’s been referencing Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman. “I Am Gotham” is a story that showcases everything Batman can and can’t do and what that means for his city. Batman #6 distinguishes itself thanks to the delicate script and spectacular pencils by guest-artist Ivan Reis. Tom King’s first arc shows us that while Batman will always be the daring warrior we want him to be, he’s also the savior we need him to be.
- Unique Exploration of Batman/Bruce Wayne
- Emotionally Gripping Conclusion
- Breathtaking Visuals
- Absolutely Nothing