Comic Review: Batman #2

There are certain things one expects when Tom King is placed on a title you love. First, is that there will always be something boiling under the surface of the story, a plot point just waiting to burst. The second is that King will treat the characters like a genuine fan would. 

There is, in fact, something going on in this book, and we can't quite put our fingers on it yet. Commissioner Gordon can't, either, both in terms of the two new super-powered heroes flying around Gotham, or in the fatal warning of the coming of the Monster Men (an upcoming arc written by CoN dream boat Steve Orlando). This issue is a slow burn, giving you a taste of what's to come without showing its hand.

David Finch again produces some incredible artwork, with major assists from Matt Banning and Danny Miki on inks, and Jordie Bellaire working colors. They produce an almost perpetually-gray Gotham City, with gothic architecture and unsure new heroes. Finch also knocks Solomon Grundy out of the park, which isn't an easy thing to do: it's very easy to mail it in and draw him as a muscle-bound goon, but Finch gives us a lithe version whose one-track mind is conveyed easily in his body language. 

And this ties into the second point: King approaches this book like someone handling an object precious to him. Writing Grundy as the poem-reciting monster is a treat, and he combines with Finch to give a portrayal of Cyrus Gold that is far more in tune with the original notion of the character than the strange avatar of Earth 2

King also gets to shine the spotlight on two of the most integral parts of the Bat-universe in Alfred Pennyworth and Jim Gordon. 

Alfred here is shown as the reserved parent who wants to direct his child towards the right thing to do, shrugging aside whatever excuses the child throws at him. His sarcasm is razor-sharp, delivered with a deadpan that can't help but leave the reader looking for someone to high-five. My favorite part of the book is when Bruce tells Duke how he doesn't trust ANYONE, and Alfred explains how he fell into that group:

/sad trombone

/sad trombone

And then there's Commissioner Gordon. King writes him so well, as a worn-out guy nearly burned out by the almost unending task of keeping Gotham in order. But that world-weariness can be playful, like when he lets Gotham and Gotham Girl try to figure out for themselves how Batman is able to fade into the night and disappear...something he's been doing to poor Jim for around 75 years now. 

subtext: "If he can do it to Superman, he can sure do it to you." 

subtext: "If he can do it to Superman, he can sure do it to you." 

Batman remains a strong book, full of three-dimensional characters and weaving plotlines. It just feels like this book is hinting at a much bigger payoff down the road, but in the meantime it's nearly impossible not to enjoy the scenery. 

8 out of 10 Sharp British Quips