Gotham City Garage #7 – Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Writers; Brian Ching, Artist; Kelly Fitzpatrick, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Brutal, Yet Fascinating
Ray: After a few character-driven issues of Gotham City Garage that reunited sisters Barbara and Kara Gordon and opened up the world a bit, we’re back to full-on war comics in Gotham City Garage #7, as the Gotham City Garage comes under siege by the forces of Governor Luthor. The heroines have already captured Batman, and have him chained up in the garage. While several just want to get rid of him, Kara and Barbara believe they can disable his ridealongs and potentially win him over to their side. For a bit, it seems like it’s working, as he regains his independent thought and is able to explain to them his backstory. But not long after, he makes clear that he’s a loyalist to Luthor, and believes that their resistance will be crushed. This story mainly seems like an excuse for Natasha to give a speech about how fascists can’t be reasoned with.
Meanwhile, a much bigger threat is emerging – in the form of Flash, the first of Luthor’s super-powered Justice League enforcers. This is easily the best segment of the issue, as Natasha Irons takes center stage to confront Flash in a high-speed duel that involves sniper rifles and a specially designed rig called the Hammer. Natasha in the leadership role of the Garage is an interesting twist – she’s always been a supporting character, but here she’s more like a ruthless general. Maybe a bit too ruthless. Given how hard the end of the issue works to make clear that Barry is nothing more than young, recently radicalized and possibly brainwashed kid, his eventual fate is…harsh. This series is obviously inspired heavily by elements of Bombshells, but while that one has an overall message of hope, this feels designed for a darker world. It’s certainly exciting, but it’s just not as compelling.
Corrina: Obviously, Gotham City Garage is grittier than DC: Bombshells. After all, it opened with Batman murdering Jim Gordon. And yet, it’s had moments of levity, and even moments of triumph, especially as Kara rescued Barbara from Luthor’s control. But this issue makes it clear that hope is in short supply.
Putting Natasha at the center of the fight against fascism is a good choice. And, yet, by giving the most brutal act of the resistance to her, it robs her of the heroism that I’d hoped she would possess, even in this series. She’s potentially the most dangerous member of the garage–it is her shop, after all–but she also appears to be the most ruthless.
On the flip side, there is Batman. It’s a refreshing change to see what is basically an uncorrupted Bruce Wayne choose to be on the side he feels is order–Luthor–and reject anarchy, except in this case, anarchy means freedom. The deck has been stacked too far against Luthor for Batman to be on the side of the right. We know he’s wrong but I can see Bruce raised in this world and come to be a true believer. (Aside: his arms must be really numb after hanging there for days…)
The series goes places I didn’t expect. Some of them I don’t enjoy, as with Natasha’s murder of Flash this issue. But the creative team has something interesting here that’s not just the same old same old alternate history.
P.S. That’s twice Flash has been murdered this week in alternate history. 🙂
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.