We’re back again this week with more of your favorite anthology series, and it’s a great issue, folks! There’s some really creative stories this time around, and I don’t want to waste too much time up here, so let’s jump right in!
The Wheelman of Gotham
The initial installment of this incredible issue follows Batman and Robin as they track down a mysterious getaway driver that’s new on the scene. Why are they so concerned with this one small-time crook? Well, for starters, they outdrove the Batmobile! Anthony Falcone and Michael Cho have created a wonderful new character, one that I hope we see a lot more of in the future. I can’t really talk about WHY Getaway is such a great character, WHY I’m so in love with this idea, without spoiling the big twist of the episode, but I WILL say that the final confrontation involves a speed-force enhanced autopiloted Batmobile created with the help of Kid Flash. If that doesn’t convince you of how awesome this story is, I don’t know what will. The art here is incredible too. Michael Cho draws an incredible Batman, very reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke, and it works perfectly for this story. Couple that with fantastic colors by Dave Stewart, and you’ve got visual gold.
There’s usually one story every issue that I’m not the biggest fan of, and I gotta say, this was it. It’s not because it’s poorly written, per se, it’s a fine enough story with good dialogue and pacing, but more of a content thing. This whole “Blue Wall” thing has made me a little nervous since it was announced. I trust John Ridley as a writer, and I hope he’ll do a good job, but something about releasing a book about how we can totally reform the system from the inside, you guys, trust me, feels a little weird in this day and age. Not to mention, Renee Montoya’s entire career as The Question has been nuked to hell and back, flushed down the drain in service of the “one good cop” angle. Again, this is nothing against this particular story in this particular issue, it’s more of a general gripe about the state of DC right now.
One thing I will absolutely give credit to Julio Anta for is writing this story around the consequences of Renee’s actions as a police officer. A large part of the plot revolves around her remembering making explicitly illegal arrests, sending people to jail for one joint or jaywalking, anything to meet her quotas and stay afloat as an officer. It’s being faced with these consequences, this moral atrocity, that motivates her to take a stand against the corruption in GCPD. It’s a relatively solid jumping off point for the new series, and I hope we see more hardcore stances taken in regards to police corruption and brutality.
Arkham Academy, Part One: First Day Jitters
Probably the story I was most excited for in this issue, First Day Jitters is a fun introduction of a really neat idea: a Scared Straight-esque school for young super villains (although it seems like it might be lining up to be a Teen Suicide Squad), starring a Scorn, of all characters! Now, for those of you who don’t remember several mediocre comic issues or one of the most fun episodes of 2004’s The Batman, Scorn is the sidekick of Wrath, an anti-Batman that kills wantonly, a dark reflection of the Caped Crusader. Problem is, this Scorn isn’t Wrath’s sidekick. He’s never done any kind of super-villain-ing. What he is, is Wrath’s son. I don’t know here Dennis Culver is going with this bit, but I do know I’m excited to see it. Every other character is interesting too. The whole cast is well designed, interestingly picked, and seems like they’ll make for great team dynamics. Not a lot happens in this first installment, which is a little disappointing, but we got some good setup, and a fantastic tease for next issue. I’m excited.
The Murder Club, Part 2
And now we get to the big guns. The most promising multi-parter we’ve had in a long time on this book, and let me tell you, I was NOT prepared for the twist this time. I really enjoy Batman stories that aren’t afraid to get a little wacky, and I got exactly what I was hoping for. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I’m genuinely more excited than I’ve been in a while to see where one of these anthology stories goes.
As for the stuff I CAN talk about, it’s incredible to see Thomas and Martha interact with the modern-day Bat-family. Their talk with Damian is especially promising, and makes me hopeful we’ll see more scenes like that. I am a little disappointed Tim isn’t here, as he and Dick are probably the two I’d most like to see talk with their adoptive grandparents, but I might still get to see the latter. The art is incredible, perfect for this neo-noir mystery, and fits the writing perfectly. Joey Esposito, Vasco Georgiev, and Alex Guimarães are the perfect team for this story.
- You like seeing fresh, new takes on the DCU.
- Either of the last two stories intrigue you.
- You’ve been following along for this long in the series and just want more good content.
I cannot express how sad I am that this series is ending in two issues. I think that seeing more anthology series like this (remember Wednesday Comics? I miss Wednesday Comics) for the grater DCU would be absolutely incredible, and a way to start trying out new series to combat the bat-fatigue a lot of fans are feeling right now.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this issue for the purposes of this review.