Batman #64 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Guillem March, Artist; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Coming off last week’s three chapters of the larger Heroes in Crisis story, the narrative dovetails into this four-party weekly crossover between the Batman and Flash titles starting with Batman #64. Entirely written by Joshua Williamson, the man behind last week’s exceptional Flash annual, “The Price of Justice” seems to be a good fusion of psychological drama and high-octane action – but so far it doesn’t seem to have all that much to do with the main plot of Heroes in Crisis, and even more surprisingly it draws its biggest plot point from the early issues of Tom King’s Batman. When the issue opens, after a brief shot of Bruce’s autopsy of Wally West, the story is focused on a huge-scale battle between the Justice League and a group of Amazos with their powers. The concept of a “Justice League Amazo” is a pretty fun old-school threat, and Guillem March draws some thrilling action segments. But hanging over the fight is the unmistakable tension between Batman and Flash after their investigation into Sanctuary hit a dead end.
After the battle ends, Barry heads off to clear his head at the Flash Museum, but everything he sees there just reminds him of Wally. He doesn’t have too much time to reflect, though, as an unseen force proceeds to crash through the dome and threaten everyone inside. Batman and Flash rescue everyone but have it out afterward when it becomes clear that Bruce knows more than he’s letting on. Bruce lies so often to his team that it’s almost becoming a running joke at this point, and it’s something I wish writers would fall back on less. But Williamson is clearly very invested in these characters, and a scene with a young Wally and Dick (while a bit wonky continuity-wise now) is very powerful, The reveal of the big bad of this arc, I expect, will be more controversial. People have been waiting for Gotham Girl to return for over two years, and the end of Batman #50 indicated that she had fallen to some dark forces. This is a highly intriguing kickoff to a big storyline and I’m excited to see how it ties into the larger picture.
Corrina: Williamson was also the writer of the enjoyable “The Button” crossover that led into the Doomsday Clock event. So I was interested in the story after seeing his name in the credits. However, I was less interested that this was all connected to Heroes in Crisis, a story I’m not enjoying at all.
So, how do those competing expectations work out so far as my enjoyment of the issue?
A mixed reaction.
This first chapter had its problems, primarily that the strong Barry/Bruce friendship seen in “The Button” is less evident here and instead, the two heroes bicker and hide secrets, especially after Bruce flat out lies to Barry, an unfortunate plot point.
As far as Gotham Girl being the culprit behind these attacks? If true, that’s a sad waste of a character, but then, Tom King seems to have created her just to suffer. Not only is she dealing with powers that she can’t use, but she’s also been driven to madness. All that is a tough punishment for someone who only wanted to help Gotham. It’s also unfortunate that we don’t see any of this from her point of view, making her seem less three dimensional than she should be.
Is this crossover hinting that Gotham Girl is the killer in Heroes in Crisis? It seems to be, though it’s possible that’s another red herring too. If it’s true, then that means a victim of trauma committed this awful crime, and that would be a seriously unfortunate narrative choice for a story that supposed to be about how superheroes deal with trauma.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.