Batman and the Signal #3 – Scott Snyder, Tony Patrick, Writers; Cully Hamner, Artist; Laura Martin, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: A Ton Crammed Into This Issue
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: I was a bit surprised that Batman and the Signal turned out to be only three issues, much shorter than your average DC miniseries. Given its strong sales and critical reception, I assumed DC would want to get more out of the series, but as it is, Duke Thomas’ first solo series turns out to be a tight, clever new take on Gotham City in the daytime. The decision to turn Duke into a Metahuman is still controversial, as it automatically sets him apart from the rest of Gotham’s vigilantes and ensures he’ll never truly fit into the Bat-family. However, Tony Patrick has taken that concept and made it work, pulling him into an intriguing mystery involving Gotham’s young metahuman criminal population. As the final issue dawns, a metahuman riot is consuming Gotham and Duke is coming off a confrontation with masked villain Gnomon, who seems to have a mysterious link to Duke that’s only been hinted at.
With Gotham in flames, several unlikely heroes get to shine this issue. I was really glad to see several fan-favorite characters from We Are Robin return and play a key role in this issue. Likewise, Duke’s Cousin Jay – who is serving as his temporary guardian – didn’t play much of a role outside the first issue, but here gets into some metahuman battles of his own. I’m hoping this character doesn’t disappear (although I’m still wondering why Bruce being Duke’s guardian, as Snyder and King set up, was abandoned). The reveal of exactly what Gnomon’s connection to Duke is feels maybe a bit too predictable – if it’s even true, as the masked villain is never actually unmasked or revealed, and as such anything he says is up for debate. Cully Hamner’s art, so good on Blue Beetle years ago, perfectly captures the chaotic Gotham daytime, and Snyder and Patrick’s take on Batman as mentor is a lot stronger than most, especially in a brief out-of-costume scene at the end. I’m not sure where Duke’s main home is now, but he deserves an ongoing spotlight as good as this one.
Corrina: I liked this issue, I enjoyed this revamping of Duke Thomas, the addition of a day shift in Gotham, especially the new police officer, and I’m thrilled to see the We Are Robin characters.
But this miniseries, at just three issues, cheated Duke Thomas. So much was set up in the first issue, including Jay as Duke’s new guardian (I assume to give Duke something of a separate identity from Bruce), and Duke’s civilian life.
The conclusion tries to resolve all that but there is so much in here that needed more space to play out, such as Gnoman being Duke’s biological father and the mystery surrounding his claim of immortality. Plus, Duke’s learning curve on his powers is glossed over this issue, and there is so much action that the personal moments are hard to find.
I want more. I’d expected more and, given this miniseries has been delayed, I wonder if more was planned and then dropped for some reason or another. I hope that’s not because DC wants to shift Duke Thomas to the background.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.
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