Welcome back to the Batman News Quarantine Book Club. Today we are covering Batman: Gates of Gotham by Kyle Higgins, Scott Snyder, and Trevor McCarthy. This is the newest, mainstream comic we’ve covered for the club, but there was interest to cover it… So, here we are. Gates of Gotham takes place during one of my favorite times in the recent history of Batman comics, and I often look back, longingly, on how things could’ve developed had the New 52 not occurred. But, alas, that is something that we will never know. Instead of reminiscing on what could’ve been, let’s dive into what was. I mean that figuratively and literally, because Gates of Gotham takes us on a fun journey exploring Gotham’s history. 

Josh: Alright, we all know the drill by now. I want to hear your thoughts from when we selected this book. And, honestly, this should just be our role call from now on. I yell everyone’s name, and you guys tell me your thoughts on selecting Gates of Gotham. Haha!

NICK!

Nick: Gates of Gotham is one of the first graphic novels I’d read in main continuity, just as I was getting into the New 52 and finishing my Streets of Gotham run. It was an interesting bridge between Dini’s run and Snyder’s run, and honestly worked rather well as a form of connective tissue – even if that obviously wasn’t the intention.

Michael: I didn’t realize until I started reading it, but this was one of the first books I read in my attempt to gain more knowledge of Batman and Gotham. It’s been a while since I first read it, but I remember enjoying it the first time around.

Casper: I too remember enjoying it the first time around. At the time I had no idea who Cassandra Cain was, and was a little bit surprised to find that Dick was Batman because I knew next to nothing about the book prior to reading it. That was also years ago, when I didn’t know as much about Batman comics in general as I do now. Ironically, picking up the trade again to read it for this article, I had pretty much forgotten everything, other than that it’s a Bat family book.

Josh: Oh, yeah. This is definitely a Bat family book. There was a time when all the Bat books felt like Bat family books to a degree. Even when Batman was clearly the lead, the family would still be there, active in some capacity, and you could tell they operated as a unit. 

Matina, what were your thoughts?

Matina: Like a lot of you, this was also something I read early on in discovering comics. I have the distinct memory of an almost 2 hour long conversation in a comic book shop where the owner walked me through recent comics history, tested my interests, and stuck Gates into my hands telling me I’d love it. And I did! I was super excited to revisit it now that I’ve got some more knowledge under my belt. 

Josh: Alright, let’s kick this off with my favorite aspect of the book – aside from the Bat family, which we’ll get to later – and that’s this book’s focus on the history of Gotham. When it comes down to it, I think the modern-day story presented here is just ok at best, but the ties and connections this story has for the past – especially the “birth” of Gotham – is completely captivating. 

Matina: I agree that there is a sense of magic to the historical portions of this book. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the Gates brother’s tale of passion for architecture, and their desire to help build the city into what it will become, and I could easily read an entire graphic novel following them. The atmosphere was enthralling, and I know we’re not at the art yet, but the art in these portions was some of my favorites. And honestly, I like seeing more about Gotham’s past in general. It’s a city we spend so much time in, it’s nice to learn about it’s roots now and again. 

Michael: I completely agree with the history of Gotham being much more interesting than the present day story. I have mixed opinions in general about stories that go back in time to develop a new backstory for Gotham’s past that then creates a conflict in the present day. It’s never been that I don’t think that fleshing out Gotham’s past isn’t worthwhile, but it’s because the way it influences the future is almost always the same. Someone was wronged in Gotham’s past and now someone wants revenge. There’s really not much room for a plotline to develop beyond that. This structure can work if the two storylines reflect each other on a thematic level, but I don’t think that ever really happens here.

Casper: It happens a little bit in the sense that the villain still feels this frustration for what happened to his family all those years ago, before he was even born, but you’re right, Michael. It’s a story structure that has been done many times over, so it’s not very original.

Josh: I agree. I feel as thought writers try to use history as a means to validate their story or villain, as opposed to using it to accent the story or flesh it out. I think what I meant, is that I liked everything that took place in the past – not necessarily how it’s tied to the future. For me, exploring the history of Gotham – one that actually feels like realistic history for this city – is quite fascinating. 

Casper: Oh, yeah, as for the history itself, I feel like this book could almost be entirely set in that time period, following the Gates brothers (whose names I really struggle to remember) along with Alan Wayne and the others. There’s this sense of wonder and awe during the historical scenes, but I don’t think the creative team manages to flesh this out properly. The present day scenes almost feel mandatory and keep getting in the way of letting the historical parts breathe and develop more. For example, when one of the Gates brothers dies, and the surviving brother confronts Alan Wayne about it and then finds out that Alan and Kane and the others covered it up, that could actually be the premise of a cool mystery story set in Gotham’s past. But now this is just glossed over, and the reason for the cover-up is just briefly told to the audience and feels like a bit of an afterthought as well as poor justification. In short, we rush through both the historical parts and the present day parts, and both suffer from it.

Nick: I think the brevity of the story is definitely something to critique.

Josh: Definitely. 

Nick: It feels like it wants to be a mysterious, ponderous dark fairytale about the secret history of Gotham, while simultaneously wanting to be a high-octane action race against time. I think it needed to sacrifice some of the former to appease the latter, but I liked what I saw in the flashbacks. It was nice to get a sense of Gotham’s formative years, before everything went to shit. It sets the tone for Snyder’s Court of Owls story, though it has a few inconsistencies between them.

Matina: I’m going to (somewhat) disagree with you, Nick, on the brevity. I actually found the length to be really nice. To me, the book balances the two stories well, and the story in its entirety feels like a good length to tell it’s tale without getting lost in itself. There’s not much more I could ask for beyond a longer scene towards the end focused on the truth behind the Gates brothers. That bit felt a bit like trying to quickly tie the bow on the story, and I would have liked the reveal to feel less like a gotcha, And more like an ah, ha moment we reached alongside Batman.  

Josh: I think that’s what Nick meant by brevity, though. We could have easily had one more issue to flesh out the ending. It just would’ve given the climax more room to breathe. I’m not sure I’d extend anything from the first half of the book. 

Nick: That’s about how I feel, yeah!

Josh: Kind of shifting our focus for a second, we keep discussing the history of Gotham, but what I think really draws us in are the families and our familiarity with them – Wayne, Cobblepot, Elliot, and Kane. It really does a lot to connect the past to present day, but to also to allow us, as readers, to have a connection with the history of Gotham that goes beyond the city itself. 

And, in addition to this, one of the aspects that I especially appreciated is the commentary on how the elite always remain elite. I like the point that the book makes about opportunities, and dare I say, privilege, because these characters are born into wealth.

Michael: I found the class dynamic of the Gates’ and their relationship to the elite families of Gotham to be the most captivating part of the book. The discussions between the two Gates brothers and how Bradley recognizes that they will never truly be family with the elites was probably my favorite part of the book. However that theme never really came into fruition enough in the present day story beyond another limp jab at the Waynes’ privilege by the villain. 

Josh: Yeah, you’re right. 

Michael: The book gives some lip service about how the rich stay rich, but also affords them a level of nobility that it doesn’t offer anyone else. There are too many active choices in the plot that puts the reader on the side of the rich, right down to Cameron Kane’s son being murdered instead of Cameron himself.

Nick: I definitely agree! I’ve never been keen on the Kanes and the Waynes both being the few elites of Gotham, but I understand why this was the case. It made for a really interesting political scene, where the families were distrusting and resentful of one another, but came together when threatened by someone from a lower class. I’d argue the message is a little muddied by the victims of their actions turning crazy, but I loved the ponderous note that the story ends on, where you’re left to ask if Kane really did murder the second Gate brother (he definitely murdered the second Gate brother).

Matina: Yeah, he definitely did.

Michael: The lingering question of whether or not Kane killed Bradley Gate is a nice touch, but to me felt more like an obligation of addressing the elephant in the room. The book spends more time explaining how the elite families tried to spare the Gates’ reputation rather than holding the Kanes accountable. The death of Cameron’s son is played as a tragedy, whereas the death of the Gates and their legacy is treated as a necessity. 

Josh: That’s a good point, Michael. There is a definite feeling of necessity concerning the death of one of the Gates brothers, as well as their legacy. This is where fleshing the back half of the book out could have been more beneficial. I kind of wish the story would have explored why the elite protected one another in the end – even if it was because of something as cliche as them all having dirt on one another. I almost wonder if Gates of Gotham was intended to be a six-issue story, but got caught up in the rush to transition into the New 52? As it is, the story feels muddled, and almost like an afterthought in dealing with this. 

Matina: Yeah, I think it’s trying to comment on the elite and rich, but loses its way a little bit between the two stories. Especially in how the message doesn’t quite land in the present parts of the story.

Nick: It definitely does seem to forget where it’s going near the end. Like, are we supposed to side with the rich guys here? Who wants that? This is why I was really excited to see Telltale make the Waynes corrupt in their Batman story, because yeah, doesn’t that just make sense? 

Josh: Oi… I hate that aspect of Telltale. Haha!

Nick: I dunno, I love it! I mean, rich aristocrats who huddle together in their towers dictating the future of an entire city aren’t exactly the pinnacles of humanity, and the story just kind of loses that because we have to sew the seeds for Thomas Wayne and Martha Kane being nice people.

Casper: Good point, Nick. You know, Thomas and Martha can be nice people regardless of whether or not their families are corrupt and whatnot. Thomas and Martha could be the ones to turn things around, and that’s how Bruce is born and raised.

Matina: Circling back to who to side with, I think the story is structured in such a way that it lets the reader judge both sets of parties accordingly. We get two very distinct tales of what happened, from the Gates perspective, and then from the families’ and the truth isn’t as black and white as either group paints it to be. We want to root for the Gates brothers because they were the dreamers, and we want to dislike the men who used them and pushed them to their fall, but at the same time, even without the excuse of the suits and going crazy, Nicholas ignores Bradley’s warnings and plays the game of politics with the Waynes and Kanes. And the families playing the story off as tragic, and re-writing history should read as wrong to the reader, and kind of personifies what’s wrong with the elite. It just feels like something that is more tragic than anything. 

Josh: I think, and this is generally speaking, we often simplify our opinions of people, and automatically just associate the rich with corruption. I hate that. While it definitely exists, I think it’s a very narrow outlook. It goes with this whole mindset of “well if you support this, then you definitely oppose this,” which I also disagree with. I think people tend to support what they know, and then somewhere along the way, someone finds a flaw, or flaws, with that action despite the good intentions of it. My point in this is to say that you can have the Waynes, and you can make them complicated and flawed without necessarily making them corrupt or evil. Anyway, I just hate this whole wealth automatically means you’re bad. I’m find with Bruce’s ancestors being corrupt in some ways, but I wish they would have explored the “why.” Also, I think you need to avoid Martha and Thomas being corrupt at all costs because they have to be what defines Bruce’s moral compass. 

Nick: I think we worship the rich too much in a lot of cases, so I have no issues with it. Especially since Bruce’s moral compass comes from his own projections and experiences, rather than a set of rules given to him by his parents.

Josh: Anyway, uh, since we keep referencing the present day, I want to jump into that plot. Earlier, I made the comment that this part of the story is “ok at best,” – an opinion it seems we all share. In saying that, I’m not saying that I dislike this portion of the story or that it’s bad, but I do think the main reason it’s interesting is because of the past. 

Michael: Without any of the backstory the present day plot really is just a guy planting bombs and the Bat family trying to stop him. That’s not to say that some of the investigation scenes weren’t interesting to see play out, but I really was just waiting for the book to return to the flashbacks to get something of actual substance. 

Nick: I have to say, I don’t completely agree! I think the Bat-Family slowly beginning to discover the depths of the conspiracy was compelling, especially that sense of dread when they realized that Penguin and Hush were tied into the story. The conflict on Dick’s face as he realizes that he has to sacrifice the Wayne building to save Hush of all people was perfect, and that need to prove himself, while a bit repetitive from previous stories in that era, was a great way of raising the stakes and the emotional investment.

Michael: The destruction of the Wayne building was a good moment, but I can’t remember another part that really stood out to me. For me, maybe it’s because I felt like it was fairly obvious where everything was heading, but all the connections to the past are extremely simplistic.

Nick: It does kind of lose me in the final issues – every set piece that I found compelling was in the first few chapters.

Josh: Yeah, I agree with everything y’all are saying here. The attention to detail wasn’t as focused for the present-day plot. Also, the creative team appeared to side with this decision to create a mystery of “Who’s under the mask!?!?” rather than just revealing it. I mean, I think it’s pretty obvious the Architect is a descendant of the Gates, so trying to make a mystery out of that falls flat. 

However, if they’d opted to just reveal that early on, then it would have allowed for more interactions between the Architect and Hush or Penguin that could have been interesting. Had this been explored further, I think it would have made the present day story more complex, but also more dangerous. We all know that both of these villains would react in their own way, and neither of their approaches would’ve been as humane as our heroes. Penguin would have fought back without concerning himself with casualties, while Hush would’ve created this strange x-factor because while he’d probably oppose the Architect, but he also wants to see all of these legacies destroyed anyway… So, yeah. I just feel like the entire present day plot falls flat because it is barely able to stand on its own.

Matina: Hmm initially I was going to say that I felt like we read two different books. But thinking on this, what I really loved about the present day scenes is the Batfamily. How they work together, interact, and investigate in distinct groups. If I try to seperate them from the mystery at play, yeah I guess it was fine. But it’s really the characters that make this portion.  

Josh: Oh, completely! And I want to talk about the Bat family – trust me – but first let’s look at the Architect, specifically. 

Overall, I really wish Snyder and Higgins would’ve thought of a better motivation for the character. As we’ve stated, everything starts off so promising, then just fizzles out by the end of the story because of how basic it is. Ultimately, this is nothing more than a petty revenge story, that’s, allegedly, based on a false journal entry. I mean, you can’t really use him again because his story has been played out. 

Michael: I was with the story until it revealed that the poor Gates actually suffer from psychosis and that the rich people buried the Gates’ legacies in order to protect them. That was a huge misfire in my opinion. 

Josh: Yeah…

Michael: I’m not trying to bring out the guillotines or anything, but I don’t see why they just didn’t let the rich people be the villains here. In fact, most of the themes the book was setting up are essentially thrown away once Nicholas Gates’ murder in the past was shown to be unjustified. It makes everything way too tidy and dare I say…problematic. The Gates’ mechanical suits were cool as a symbol of the labor that built Gotham, not as a plot device that makes people go insane. There’s this bit I winced at near the end where Dick says that Zachary Gate would have just found something else to rage over if he didn’t find the Gates’ old journal, which I really don’t understand at all, at least on a thematic level. In a book that is about rich families screwing over a couple of poor brothers, Higgins and Snyder sure bend over backwards to really make sure the rich people come out looking good. Psychosis and insanity inducing mechanical suits, no angle is left blurred. 

Nick: Yes, thank you! I’m so glad Snyder caught onto the fact that the “villain is actually just crazy” trope is not compelling whatsoever, after the debacle with New 52 Mister Freeze. I imagine Higgins realized something similar, though I wouldn’t know in that regard. As a result of this though, Architect is just sort of boring. His suit is cool, but knowing it’s just a crazy person in there means nothing to me, as opposed to the concept of a steampunk ghost.

Casper: I didn’t like the psychosis part, either. It’s just too contrived for me and it’s, frankly, quite cheap. It also feels like the creative team, or DC editorial, was too afraid to take a critical look at Alan Wayne. 

Josh: That’s what I was thinking. 

Casper: Just because he’s Batman’s granddad doesn’t mean he can’t be leaning toward the villainous side in this story. If it makes for more compelling character dynamics, and therefore a more compelling story, then that should absolutely be something to consider.

Matina: Yeah, cheap is a great word for it. I mentioned earlier I would have liked the ‘reveal’ to have a little more time, and I stand by that. The explanation feels rushed, and out of the blue, like no one had a better idea as to how to make the Gates into villains and make Alan seem like a good guy. 

Josh: Yeah, I know I mentioned earlier that I hate that the rich are always portrayed as corrupt, but to clarify, it’s not that I don’t think they should ever be villainous or corrupt, just that I don’t want the foundation of it to be that simple. Throw some complexity in there. To me, someone being evil just to be evil is boring. Again, had there been some backstory into the complexity of these men and the decisions they made, then I doubt we’d be discussing how it failed. Give a compelling reason for characters to make the decisions they do… We didn’t get that. And that goes for the elite as well as the Architect.

And, yes, I did like the Architect’s costume. Easily the best thing about the character. Haha!

Matina: I do have to know guys, was I the only one who assumed for most of the story that The Architect was actually one of the original Gates brothers who’d somehow lived this long? 

Nick: No, I thought that too, and it honestly would have been a cooler concept. I say Batman should have more supernatural villains.

Michael: I thought it was either one of the original Gates or maybe even one of the Kanes in a misguided attempt to further bury the Gates’ legacy.

Casper: I would have enjoyed that as well, much more than what we got. I know that quite a few readers don’t seem to be fond of supernatural elements in Batman stories, but I don’t see why not. This is the DCU, after all. Stranger things have happened! 

Josh: That should just be the tagline whenever DC makes decisions that could potentially be questionable. “This is the DCU, after all. Stranger things have happened!” Haha!

Alright, I think we’ve talked about the villains quite a bit, let’s turn to the best part of the present day story… Our heroes! 

Nick: This book is a great example of the Bat-family working together as a cohesive unit, but I don’t think this book is the best at anything it does with them. What made the Bat-family work before the New 52 is that it was a group effort from all creators, so while I do appreciate all the interesting dynamics here – Tim and Damian’s rivalry, Damian’s hesitance towards Cassandra – this book still feels like just one piece to that puzzle. It’s a shame we’ve never really felt that connectivity since.

Josh: I completely agree! I tweeted about this on Wednesday, but I really miss this era of Batman comics. This is essentially the Morrison era, and there was so much development and growth for these characters during this time, that I’d argue is some of the best Batman work ever done. And, Nick, describing it as a piece of a puzzle is perfect. It wasn’t just the Batman book that was good, it was all of it: Red Robin, Batgirl, Batman Inc. Birds of Prey. I just miss seeing the characters as developed as they were during this time… And, you know, actually seeing them get along and operating as a unit. 

Casper: While I’ll always prefer more focused Batman solo adventures with lots of detective stuff, I do really enjoy Bat family stories every now and then. I enjoy the present day part because the character dynamics here are quite good. Dick, Tim, Damian, Cassandra — they all have distinct voices and mannerisms. But this is also pretty much the only thing about the present day plot that makes me want to keep reading.

Michael: I generally prefer a solo Batman adventure as well, but I do love the interactions between the Bat family, especially when Damian is involved. I’ll take some good Damian content whenever I can and his scenes with Cassandra were always fun to read. But like Casper, the dialogue between the characters is what kept my interest more so than their actual mission.

Casper: Damian is my boy!

Josh: Hell yeah!

Matina: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. It’s the dynamic between everyone that made me love reading this in the first place, and made me fall more in love on this second read. It’s like this book was filled with all the interactions I’ve been craving for well over a year now while reading current comics. Watching everyone work as a team, with their different strengths and weaknesses was what really made this book enjoyable for me. 

Josh: Just wait until we explore this era further, Matina. I promise you, you’re going to love it!

Matina: Something I really liked is that we get to see so many different combinations of characters here. There’s Dick and Tim working together (something I desperately wish we had more of now and when Dick was Batman), Tim and Damian, Damian and Cass, Cass and Dick. Each group has a different perspective, and they all work together in different distinct ways. It was just really cool to see and I so wish we had it again. 

Nick: I definitely agree that the interesting combinations of characters within the Bat-Family is what sells this book.

Casper: Well said, Matina. I think the Batman line of comics can definitely do with a good team book. We have Outsiders, of course, but a more classic line-up in a team book would be nice. But, at the same time, I don’t want new creative teams to recapture the same voice and magic of those older comics. They’re different creators and these are different times. Rather than looking back at the past and trying to recreate that, I think new creators should find their own approach. Nostalgia can be nice, but not always a good way to approach storytelling.

Josh: As much as I miss the “old days,” Casper is right. I don’t want to rehash what was done. If I were to identify, specifically, what made this era so special for these characters was the simple fact that they were allowed to grow. At this point in time, Dick, Tim, and Cassandra were all deemed as worth to be “Batman.” And they were viewed that way for different reasons, and had all become leaders – in some ways equals – to Bruce. They operated as partners who were all completely capable on their own. Now, it’s almost like you can’t have anyone be as good as Batman. They always have to be sidekicks or second best… That’s my opinion, anyway. 

Nick: Yeah, I honestly think taking Bruce out of Gotham was a fantastic decision. They should have done it for longer.

Josh: We’re starting to run a little long, so let’s talk about the art for a bit. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on Trevor McCarthy’s work. 

Michael: In it’s better moments I got some Mignola vibes, but almost every action sequence left me scratching my head as to what exactly happened. His two page spread near the end where Batman fights the villain while Damian and Cassandra disarm an underwater bomb is a particular eye sore.

Nick: I like the present-day content he does – Penguin and Hush in particular leap from the pages, and he does a great job of giving each member of the Bat-family distinctive silhouettes (even in Bruce’s cameo!). That said, I found his art didn’t really fit with the vintage flashbacks that we were seeing every few pages – the style felt too modern, which clashed with the color scheme.

Matina: I’ll agree with Michael that some of his fight scenes were tough to read, but otherwise I enjoyed his art. And contrary to Nick, I felt he fit best with the historical scenes. I loved the backgrounds, scenery, and general vibe he gives the characters in those. I’m not finding the proper words for why, but it just seemed to fit with my mental image of historical scenes like this. Especially the steampunk-ish diving suits. 

Nick: I do agree that I loved his designs!

Josh: Yes!

Casper: I think McCarthy does some things really well. There are some great panels in the historical parts, with cool architecture and a great atmosphere that fits that time period well. I also like the stylish panel borders and most of the character designs. McCarthy has a distinct style, too, which is great because you’ll instantly recognize him if you’re familiar with his work, even if you didn’t see his name on the cover or didn’t look at the credits page. But McCarthy isn’t the only artist working on this book: we also have Dustin Nguyen on issue #4! I actually prefer his pencils, and especially his awesome variant covers, for which he uses his watercolors. I kind of wish Nguyen had colored the entire book with those watercolors.

Michael: I’m a big fan of Nguyen’s art and adore his covers too. I’d love for his interiors to have also been watercolor, but maybe it would’ve been too jarring. But even issue #4 had a sequence I had to re-read where the villain fights Tim and Damian where some major beats lack the clarity and impact I look for. 

Nick: Nguyen is one of my favourite artists in the business, but him coming into the story at the very end felt a little bit jarring – I’d have preferred if he either took the entire story or none of it. That said, I did like his presence; it reminded me that this book was a spiritual successor to Streets of Gotham in some respects. 

Matina: The switch wasn’t too jarring to me, though that could be because he’s also one of my favorite artists, and his work is easily recognizable to me. Flipping back through the book I can see how it might feel a little jarring, though not too much.

Casper: I didn’t find the switch jarring at all, but I can see why it would be to others. As for the action scenes, to be honest, I didn’t pay too much attention to those. I thought most of them were kind of messy, and I kind of zoned out every time and decided to just move on with the rest of the story. It’s a shame, because I love a good sequential action scene, but this book doesn’t pull that off.

Josh: Alright, final thoughts.

Michael: As a piece of entertainment, there’s enough here to make me feel like I didn’t waste my time reading this story. I thought the flashbacks were very interesting and touched on some very relevant themes for both the Batman mythos and our current times. The present day storyline on the other hand is fairly routine even if it does feature the Bat family and some nice interactions between them. Thematically, I think the story is a bit of a disaster. You can argue that I’m taking a negative reading on the conclusion and the nature of the Gates’ family mental issues, but there are far too many moments for me that feel at odds with what the story spent time setting up. Explaining everything away via psychosis or insanity induced via metal suit is a major cop out for what was once a compelling class conflict that spilled out into present day.

Nick: I mean, I like it? Honestly I’m not sure why we’re doing a book club on it; in my opinion it’s nothing special. It’s not really as compelling, in-depth or impactful as the stories that came both before and after it. That said, it paints a lovely picture of how steeped in family and history both Batman and the city itself are.

Josh: Batman: Gates of Gotham delivers in many ways, and fails to deliver in other ways. The book succeeds when focusing on the history of Gotham, and when following the Gates brothers as they pursue their dream of becoming architects. There’s something about seeing someone want to leave their mark in history – in a positive way – that makes you want to root for them. Unfortunately, the back-half of the book makes many questionable decisions that tarnishes what could have been an incredible story. Is the book good? Yes, but it’s brevity – especially during the climax – makes Gates of Gotham an enjoyable read instead of a great read. 

Matina: I love this book. A second read and some experience only made me enjoy it more. Yes, it’s got it’s flaws. The way the story ends for the Gates characters, and the general ending of the historical portion does feel rushed and messy, but as a fan of the Batfam I have to love this book. It’s a snapshot of one of my favorite aspects of Batman comics, and that’s seeing Batman and his partners working as a team to achieve a shared goal. It also lays down a lot of great work between the characters, and showcases them in different situations. I think, even if you’re not that into the family it’s still a fun read to fill a day with. 

Casper: I enjoy this book for what it is. It has just enough things that I like that make me continue reading. But I don’t think this is a must-read at all. To me it’s very much just a middle of the road book that I would read on a Batman reading binge, but not really pull from my shelf to read by itself. It’s filled with missed opportunities, but it also fun Bat family interactions and a fun look into Gotham’s past. So, it’s entertaining, but it’s far from perfect. Higgins, Snyder and McCarthy went on to create much better comics after this.

Thank you for joining us this week! We’d love to hear your thoughts on Batman: Gates of Gotham. Do you agree with our assessment? Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments! Check out our previous discussion about Shadow of the Batgirl and Dear Justice League and be sure to join us next week as we read The Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet.