Batman: The Imposter #1 – Mattson Tomlin, Writer; Andrea Sorrentino, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: One of the more unlikely projects to come out of Black Label, this new Batman series pairs upcoming The Batman co-writer Mattson Tomlin with frequent DC and indie superstar Andrea Sorrentino, and asks a fascinating question—what if Batman went to therapy? One night, Leslie Thompkins (here reimagined as a middle-aged black woman) finds a bloodied, beaten Batman in her apartment and unmasks him as the boy she desperately tried to counsel years back. Terrified by what he’s become but not willing to turn him over to the police, she forces him into a deal—she’ll keep his secret, if he commits to regular therapy sessions to try to exorcise his demons. It’s a fascinating concept and one that gets under Batman’s skin more than most.
At the same time, this is a Batman coming, and Batman needs enemies. This is a grittier version of Gotham, one seemingly inspired more by real life, and the villains are rougher too. A trio of generic bank robbers add some genuine menace thanks to just how vicious they get, and some reinvented versions of Ventriloquist and Ratcatcher lurk around the fringes. But they’re minor threats if that so far—Ratcatcher in particular is more treated as a harmless, quirky resident of Gotham that might be twisted down the line. But this is a corrupt Gotham, and the biggest threat to Batman just may be the police—sans Gordon, who was apparently drummed out of the force—who are out for his blood.
Things take a dark turn when Batman seemingly murders three criminals in cold blood, turning him into public enemy #1. Of course, it’s not the genuine article—it’s an impostor, and so begins the main mystery of this book. A new character, Detective Blair Wong, finds herself in the middle of the mystery, pushed to resolve the Batman issue by the powerful Wesker corporation. It’s an interesting look at a Gotham where crime and corruption, not costumed lunatics, are still the top threat facing Batman and the citizens. The crime and action segments are beautifully drawn, but the writing is really at its best when it’s just Batman and Dr. Thompkins facing off. It reminds me a bit of The Sopranos with capes at times, and it’s a highly intriguing start.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.