Batman and The Signal #2 – Scott Snyder, Tony Patrick, Writers; Cully Hamner, Artist; Laura Martin, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: So Many Fascinating Questions
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Part conspiracy thriller, part action-adventure, part youth drama, Batman and the Signal #2, the second issue in Duke Thomas‘ first solo series unfolds in exciting fashion, bringing in several intriguing new players to Gotham’s superhero scene.
As the issue opens, Duke is under attack in what’s essentially Arkham’s juvie hall, where young meta criminals are being held. However, the attack isn’t what it seems, as the teen metas on the loose are actually pawns of a secret villain who has been watching them – and Duke – for a long time. I like the new characters on the scene here, especially our new Detective, sporting a shiny metal arm and a skeptical attitude towards metahumans. She’s trying to crack the case of the current meta boom in Gotham, something that’s creating new villains right out of Night of the Monster Men. Gotham’s used to weirdness, but not “giant squid supervillain” weirdness. However, at the core of this issue is Duke’s journey to find out the truth about his powers and how they tie into how he became Gotham’s newest protector.
I liked that his two friends from We Are Robin played a role here – although they have very different ideas for what he should be doing with his powers, and one of them may not be sticking around. The new villain, right out of central casting, is probably the weakest part of the issue. How many times have we seen a villain with a gimmick and a secret tie to the hero announce themselves in dramatic fashion? The idea that Gotham’s sun itself is wrong, though, that it’s creating metahumans, is fascinating. And I think my favorite part of this series is Bruce and Duke’s complex working relationship. This is the closest we’ve ever seen to a Robin-type who demands to be treated as a colleague, not a sidekick. Bruce and Duke learning to truly trust each other as partners is going to be a very interesting journey to watch.
Corrina: I love that Duke’s team already feels unique compared to the rest of the Bat-Family. Part of it is his connection to We Are Robin crewe and part of it is that he’s being shifted into more of a superhuman role than we usually see for Bat-Allies in Gotham. (I could do with a little less emphasis on the sun/darkness metaphor, though, which is being hit hard.)
Who’s controlling the new metahumans? And if they can be controlled, why is our mysterious mastermind ready to kill all their families? That seems a bad plan because once the families are killed, he would have even less of a hold of them than he does right now. It would also up the carnage in this story, so I hope either Duke saves them or, at the least, saves most of the families.
Projecting to when this arc is over, it’s easy how these new metahumans might be part of a group led by Duke because the creative team has come up with some fascinating uses for their powers and I hope we see much more of them. This superhero battle struck me as unique, less punching and more thinking, and Duke’s tentative use of his powers only adds to the fascination. (The Signal and the Outsiders, maybe?)
I’m less thrilled that there’s yet another hidden mastermind in Gotham but I’m hopeful that maybe he’s been dimension hopping or something otherwise Batman rates an epic fail in uprooting masterminds in Gotham. But, overall, this is a terrific, imaginative series with a winning new hero.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.