You should know something before you read my review… The story doesn’t matter. Just go get this issue because of Stjepan Sejic’s art! No seriously. Do it just to boost sales to show the importance of damn good artists!
My introduction to this review is clearly a joke. Well, 50% of it is a joke. Sejic’s art really should be enough of a reason to buy this issue, but there’s some fun to be had with the story as well. I still believe that Teen Titans presented the best chapter of “Gotham Resistance” as far as the narrative – probably because it’s the only issue that’s able to stand on its own so far – but I do believe this issue is better than Nightwing’s “Gotham Resistance” chapter.
As a refresher, this is the third chapter of “Gotham Resistance,” with one chapter remaining (Green Arrow), so we have a lot of ground to cover. The first chapter featured the Teen Titans and introduced us to the growing threat in Gotham, while the second chapter focused on Nightwing, and delved into his mythology – which appears to be at the center of all of this – much like Bruce… The only problem I have with the story at the moment is that we don’t have a clear idea of what is actually going on. There’s just so much that we don’t know, and I can’t help but feel that this story would have a little more weight if we’d at least read The Batman Who Laughs prior to starting this story. I want to trust that DC knows what they’re doing, but I can’t help but feel this is all just a result of poor planning.
“Gotham Resistance” is basically a story about how The Batman Who Laughs is attacking Gotham. The problem here is that there isn’t much information or narrative feeding this character. We know next to nothing about the Batman Who Laughs, or how he’s accomplishing any of his plans. There’s a huge mountain in Gotham, and this evil Batman is using some type of magic card to grant Batman’s rogues enhanced abilities. We’ve seen Riddler, Mr. Freeze, and in this issue we get brief glimpses of Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, Manbat, and more. I just want to figure out why these villains were chosen, and how these cards granted them these enhancements. I’d also like to know why these rogues decide to go along with this Joker Batman. I mean, there’s a running theme in this issue where Harley and Croc both have a, “you’re not taking/ destroying my city” attitude. Meanwhile, the other villains apparently were like, “Yeah, sure! Let’s rule a certain portion of Gotham until the city is destroyed!”Without an explanation or details, the story just doesn’t play out very well.
But that’s not the only miss in “Gotham Resistance.” The Batman Who Laughs’ pet Robins are also playing a large role in the narrative, and they can apparently turn people evil. This was revealed in the previous issue when he turned the Teen Titans and Suicide Squad evil. (Umm… More evil in the case of the Suicide Squad?) We don’t know how evil Robin does this, but it happens… which is fine, but it does beg the question as to why he doesn’t just do the same thing to our remaining heroes. And yes, I know Joker Bats “has plans” for these heroes, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be turned evil first.
Enough reviewing the story in whole though, let’s focus on the issue itself. Suicide Squad’s “Gotham Resistance” feels very different than the previous chapters because of one primary reason: humor. Williams does a great job writing Harley here, and even interjects doses of humor from Killer Croc as well – something he’s done well for both characters throughout his Suicide Squad run. In fact, characterization is one of Williams strong suits, so it’s no surprise that all of the characters are presented well here.
Another notable difference with this issue is the pacing. Where the two previous chapter focused heavily on the character(s) of its title and a single villain, this chapter side-steps that approach. Rather than one villain, we encounter many in this book. Williams throws us right into the action on the first page as our resistance team battles Manbats, before encountering Ivy, and later Mad Hatter. But none of these are the main threat. The main threat for this issue is actually evil Robin, who now has the Teen Titans and Suicide Squad under his control.
If I’m being honest, this issue feels like a collection of two separate chapters: one that features Harley and Killer Croc (roughly ten pages), before shifting focus back to Nightwing, Robin, and the mythology of this entire event and how it ties to Dick. Instead of feeling disjointed though, the issue actually works well. The opening scenes that focus on Harley provide a great energy for the narrative to feed on. Then there’s the humor I mentioned earlier. The laughs from Harley early on help give the serious moments involving Dick and Robin more weight strictly out of comparison.
In the end, it’s a satisfying read with beautiful art. You can’t really go wrong here. Yes, Metal and its tie-ins are over the top and a bit corny, but they’re fun. More importantly, “Gotham Resistance” does a lot with Dick Grayson. If you’re a fan of his ties to the Court of Owls and love the idea that his life has been pre-destined and manipulated because of these metals (mirroring the way that Batman’s life is being manipulated), then I recommend picking this issue up! Also, a fan favorite character returns, so that’s always a good thing, right?
The Art: Seriously… What can I say? The art is outstanding, beautiful, meaningful, etc. So much of the reason this issue works with such grace and potentially isn’t a mess considering its pacing, is because of Sejic. Whenever I read his work, I always think, “This is the next Fabok or Janin.” Yes, he’s on Aquaman full time now (which has to say something about his ability to squeeze in this issue as well without hindering his quality), but I can only imagine bigger things for him in the future. Bottom line, Sejic enhances whatever he touches and any writer should feel lucky to have him as a partner on their book!
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
The Good: The humor. There are moments where Williams’ humor doesn’t land, but for the most part, the injected humor is a success. It adds an energy to the book that could have otherwise been lacking and helps balance out the more serious moments that come later in the issue.
Nightwing’s Mythology. The driving narrative in “Gotham Resistance” is Nightwing, his mythology, and his ties to these metals. So much of this story is pulling from his history with the Court of Owls, Dr. Hurt, and more, that it mirrors Batman’s arc in Metal quite well. His visions are also concerning. Williams tries to tease that Batman is dead, but I don’t believe it for a second. In fact, I think he’s well and alive, and that Nightwing will be his saving grace when all is said and done.
Mr. Terrific. We all knew he would show up eventually because he’s been featured in various marketing, but I don’t think any of us expected to see him show up in “Gotham Resistance.” I found this to be a nice surprise, and can’t wait to see the role he plays in the final issue!
The Bad: Enhanced Rogues. There’s no actual plot involving Batman’s featured Rogues who received enhancements. The story kicks off with the resistance fleeing Manbats, and also features them fleeing Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, and White Rabbit (you guys remember her?), but all of those moments last a mere page, if that. Some are just a panel. The one rogue that actually receives worthy attention is Poison Ivy, but the resistance doesn’t really battle her… Evil Robin battles her with his evil Teen Titans and Suicide Squad. The whole back and forth begs the question, “What’s the point?” Yes, it was fun to see the interaction between Harley and Ivy, but other than that, the narrative fails to drive a fulfilling plot. I’d have much rather just had evil Robin with his evil “Titan Squad” chasing our heroes. It would’ve featured the Suicide Squad more prominently, and still would have allowed humor.
Evil Titan Squad. As I mentioned earlier, the lack of detail in how Evil Robin turns other people evil diminishes the quality and impact of this story. If we knew how he did this, and specifically why he doesn’t turn the other heroes, it would make the story feel more relevant. At the moment, it just feels as though the resistance isn’t being turned simply because the story needs heroes. In reality, it feels like the only heroes we actually need are Nightwing and maybe Robin. At the very least, I would have been ok without an explanation of how Evil Robin turns these people if he’d just turned more of the remaining heroes – maybe Killer Croc and Harley by the end of the issue. It would have created more suspense, and our heroes mission would have felt less hopeful.
- You’re loving the “melt your face off” ride of Metal.
- You’re a Nightwing fan.
- You love Harley and her humor.
Overall: Rob Williams delivers a solid chapter of “Gotham Resistance” that balances a number of plots and characters quite well! There’s humor, action, suspense, and heart, all of which are accompanied by Sejic’s impeccable art. There are some low parts in the issue and arcing story – mainly stemming from a lack of knowledge concerning the Batman Who Laughs and his pet Robins – but I ultimately find this to be a redeeming read if you’re already invested in Metal and all of its tie-ins. And even if you’re not enjoying “Gotham Resistance,” you really should just pick p this chapter for the art. Am I making it clear that the art is incredible? No? Well, it’s amazing!