Review – Batman: Gargoyle of Gotham #1 – No Laughing Matter

Comic Books DC This Week
Batman: Gargoyle of Gotham #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Batman: Gargoyle of Gotham #1 – Rafael Grampa, Writer/Artist; Mattheus Lopes, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: One of the most fascinating things about Black Label is the way this mature readers line has lured some of the most impressive names in comics, especially writer-artists, to do their own take on classic DC characters. Daniel Warren Johnson and Stjepan Sejic have already had their turn at the wheel, Christian Ward is up next—but maybe the most impressive get so far might be legendary Brazilian artist Rafael Grampa, whose hyper-detailed work makes him a perfect get for Batman. Knowing his style, it’s no surprise that this is a pitch-black noir set in a Gotham that feels more claustrophobic, more haunting than ever before. Batman is on the trail of a serial killer who is targeting the rich with brutal precision, but he’s also caught between a million little tragedies as Gotham preys on the vulnerable. That leads him to a risky decision—he wants to put an end to Bruce Wayne so he can concentrate on the work.

Broken city. Via DC Comics.

Alfred tries his best to dissuade Bruce, but once Batman has his mind set on something, it’s hard to deter him. While Batman is definitely the lead here, Commissioner Gordon gets near-equal play. Set early in Batman’s career, the relationship between them isn’t fully formed yet and Batman is still seen as an outlaw as he pursues one of the most disturbing and murderous villains we’ve seen in a while. There is a lot going on here, including fascinating ties to an obscure cartoon that the villain is obsessed with and has roots in a horrific school tragedy, as well as a growing socialist movement in Gotham that is asking whether the villain’s targeting of the rich is actually a net good. Grampa’s art is always astonishing, of course—check out the noir edition, in black and white, to see the full detail—and the story is intriguing, even if it might have a few too many subplots for a very busy first issue.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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