NOTE: For a better reading experience, check out Detective Comics #27 BEFORE reading this issue or this review!

Luke Fox is back from Rome and Gotham is looking quite different. Everything is bright, cheerful, and safe. Does Luke question any of this? Not at first, he’s one of the happy people. But there are a growing number of unhappy individuals who are plunging into a deep depression and even committing suicide and this growing darkness is beginning to nag at our hero. What happened to Gotham? If you’ve read Detective Comics #27— which I highly suggest you do– you know that the city is under the influence of yet another one of Scarecrow’s toxins. We learn about all of this in Batwing #27 through a bizarre scene featuring the villain from Batwing’s Zero Year issue and a C-list Bat villain who is making his first ever New 52 appearance.

This scene with the villain was probably my favorite because it showcased a rather humorous scenario that’s crossed my mind before: What if you’re a supervillain with an incredibly intricate master plan who’s ready to attack, but you can’t because some other supervillain is STILL doing his evil plan! That’s exactly what’s going on here. So it’s this wonderful little scene where the bad guy sits about his lair impatiently waiting for a better opportunity to let the world know that he’s here, he’s evil, and everybody should fear him! The man he vents his villain problems to is one I’ll keep behind spoiler tags, but I will go ahead and say that I like the way he was depicted as being exceedingly creepy. Oh, and if you’re wondering how these guys were unaffected by the Scarecrow toxin, they were deep underground and one of them always wears a breathing apparatus– hint, hint.

Besides that unusual and oddly refreshing scene, we get an issue that really showcases not only the power of the Batwing armor (or should we say “Flying Fox” armor?), but Luke’s own brain power. One of my favorite moments from Palmiotti and Gray’s run so far was when Luke took a time out to do some tinkering of his own and we get another scene similar to that here as he comes to realize what’s happening to the city and goes on the offensive.

Spoiler
However, I don’t recall it being stated anywhere before that Luke studied chemistry, but I could be wrong. If it wasn’t then I don’t really know how he would’ve been able to concoct an anecdote so quickly. With Batman I believe that sort of thing because, well, he’s Batman. Batman’s a scientist.

All in all, it’s a very good tie-in to the Gothtopia event, but one that should be enjoyed only after reading Detective Comics first. The cover by Darwyn Cooke looks awesome, but it also reads that the interior art was done by Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira, which isn’t the case. This time the artwork is handled by Jason Masters and Scott Kolins who give the book a clean new look and some very creative page layouts. Some pages feature panels divided by bars that mirror those in the villain’s window or panels with frayed edges caused by our perspective tearing away one reality to reveal another.

Spoiler
I was fascinated by the quirky new design for Rat Catcher. The main bad guy (who got his powers through buying things on the internet, if I recall correctly) still looks ridiculous, but the strangeness of Rat Catcher seems to actually fit his characterization. I’m interested to know how his new glass dome works. It’s a laughably insane look, but that’s just the sort of guy that this Ratcatcher is. That final page with him playing the piano was especially disturbing.

Recommended If…

  • “Gothtopia” was one of your favorite stories from today’s Detective Comics #27
  • Batwing #0 was a good read and you’d like to see more from that issue’s villain
  • You’d like to see the New 52 version of [strong] Ratcatcher[/strong]
  • Lucius Fox is a Bat-ally you can’t get enough of

Overall

A solid Gothtopia tie-in that introduces a villain you may know to the New 52 continuity and features some creative page layouts.

SCORE: 7.5/10