Batman: Sins of the Father #4 – Christos Gage, Writer; Raffaele Ienco, Artist; Guy Major, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Mano a Mano
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: After the two previous issues took Batman all around Gotham in search of his father’s twisted legacy and the truth behind the assassinations targeting Thomas Wayne’s associates, Batman: Sins of the Father #4 pulls back to great effect and sets the entire story in one location – the mansion of Floyd Lawton, the deadly sharpshooter and dark mirror to Batman, who became Deadshot to avenge what was done to his family through Wayne’s corruption. At first, Lawton is putting on an effective mask, presenting himself as a harmless rich playboy whose fixation on sharpshooting is nothing more than a schoolboy extracurricular. Even when Bruce accuses him outright of being Deadshot, he plays it off – until Bruce shows exactly how much he knows about Lawton’s past. Lawton eventually reveals the truth of exactly what happened to his brother, and how he got out from under his abusive parents’ clutches.
It’s a very effective story, capturing the intimate cruelty of an abusive family, but the one thing Lawton doesn’t reveal is exactly what happened to his parents, sticking to the unlikely story of a murder-suicide. When Bruce pushes him, accusing him of engineering their deaths, that’s when Deadshot comes out, and the issue turns tense in a hurry. With Bruce out of costume and unarmed against a deadly enemy, Bruce is boxed into a situation that he can’t win. With very little action and violence in this issue, it’s surprising that Gage can wring so much tension out of the story. Lawton makes for a very compelling villain, in that his grievance is painfully real, but he’s taken his rage beyond any reasonable level and is making sure the world suffers for it. Even as a video game tie-in, it’s a highly effective story that makes me want to see this rivalry play out over the coming issues. Much stronger than past Batman video game tie-ins.
Corrina: This may be one of my favorite Deadshot stories ever and that’s saying something because I loved him in Secret Six. Having the villain be a mirror of the hero is always an effective narrative tool, done correctly, and I love the similarities between Bruce Wayne and Floyd Lawton. They’re close to being the same person, for similar reasons, as their parents were evil people. However, Thomas Wayne kept his evil away from his son during his life, while the Lawtons took out their evil on their sons. Floyd was irretrievably twisted and broken into becoming Deadshot. (Irredeemable, perhaps) while Bruce is trying to clean up his father’s mess to pass down a better legacy.
And that small difference, that Floyd learned to be the terror, while Bruce strives to be the solution to the terror is what creates the tension between the two men. This Bruce isn’t the same as our universe Bruce but he’s definitely a hero.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.