Here we find ourselves at the end of the first arc of King’s run on Batman, a slow build to the big finish. As usual with King he builds the world and story in the first few issues and then drives it home fast and hard in the following issues. We begin here no different, the first four issues give the ensuing fight the weight it truly deserves and circles back around to the I am Gotham moniker.
Being King’s first arc, this feels like a solid beginning to his run, with his slow burn story telling we really are just getting into the meat of it. There are true strokes of genius here like bringing in the JLA to a Batman comic. This is always a tricky proposal, yet King manages to do it with grace, using them to show how powerful Gotham truly is. Ultimately it was not the JLA or even Batman that defeats Gotham, instead something more astute.
Yet again the visuals impress here, with Finch, Hope, and Banning on pencils, I find it hard to tell who is doing which page and that is a compliment. The inks and colors are on point, as you would expect, with beautiful panels throughout. Going into Rebirth I was concerned about the schedule and how the art would hold up, that is no longer a concern.
The Breakdown (Spoilers)
We open up with Alfred posing as Batman and recapping his conversation with Thomas Wayne about being Bruce’s godparent. He thought it would be a pleasure that Bruce was such a good boy, with mild days of reading books and the occasional charity ball. Ending his thoughts while ramming Gotham at 196MPH and causing a confrontation, buying time for Bruce to show up. Gotham notices immediately that he is not Batman, with possibly one of the funniest moments in a Batman comic. This has Alfred thanking God and running away when Bruce arrives.
With Batman on the scene, he throws everything in his arsenal at Gotham trying to stop him, while Psycho Pirate’s fear is gripping Gotham. Batman ends up blowing up the Batmobile and crashing the Batplane into Gotham trying to stop him to no avail. Realizing he is outmatched he has Alfred call for the Justice League to help out, something he has rarely done. Meanwhile, Claire is back at the Batcave with Duke, trying to figure out how they got their powers and their function.
We find out that Gotham and Gotham Girl paid for their powers with their life. They can adjust their powers as they see fit but at the cost of stealing years off of their life. They are able to be normal for decades, Superman level strength for a few years, or a God for a few hours. Which explains how Gotham is beating up the Justice League with ease.
Batman manages to convince Gotham that he is Gotham City, that he should be the one that pays not the city. A full circle, as with the first comic, Batman is prepared to die to protect Gotham. In the last moments, before Gotham is able to kill Batman, Gotham Girl swoops in to save Batman and end Gotham. Leading into the next arc, Gotham Girl Year One.
8.5 / 10
Reviewed by Tim Montoya Batman #5 Written by Tom King Art by David Finch, Sandra Hope, Matt Banning, Scott Hanna, Jordie Bellaire, John Workman Published by DC Release Date: August 17th, 2016