Comic Review: Batman (Rebirth) Vol. 1 – I Am Gotham

I’m adding the “Rebirth” tag to the title of this comic to distinguish it from the initial post Flashpoint relaunch. of the Batman books. Tonally, the book is interesting, in terms of how the book openly embraces the concept of the Bat Family (by contrast with the last Batman graphic novel I reviewed), while also escalating the power level of superheroism in Gotham City.

The book opens with Batman recruiting a new member of the Bat-Family, the hero who will be known as The Signal. Meanwhile – two new Superman-level heroes, calling themselves Gotham & Gotham Girl show up while a plane is in the middle of crashing into the city. Because they can help the city in ways The Bat can’t (particularly when it comes to emergency rescue), Batman decides to bring them into the Bat-Family as well.

However, things don’t go well for long, as eventually Hugo Strange and Psycho Pirate set their sights on the two and things go downhill from there – setting up a crossover with the Suicide Squad, though we have Bat-Family wide crossover before that one.

On the one hand, the volume is interesting, and I think the book sets up well why Superman-style Paragons don’t get traction in Gotham – the city has developed a breed of villains who are able to stop that class of hero through means other than direct confrontation. I also like Batman getting more involved with powered heroes – The Gothams here, and in Detective Comics (review to come), there’s Bruce working to help rehabilitate Clayface.

However, while I like Amanda Waller, her involvement and the involvement of the Suicide Squad here feels rough. Apparently, her HQ is now a secret base in Gotham? Why? One of the consistent character traits I’ve picked up from Waller is that one of her greatest and most underappreciated skills is that she knows exactly how far she can push a superhero to get the reaction she wants or needs – and I can’t help but feel that giving the Squad a base directly in Gotham would be pushing Batman a little too far.

Still, it’s a good launch to the book, and I’m interested in seeing where this plot goes from here.

Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham is available from Amazon in a Kindle/Comixology version and in a physical edition. Buying anything through those links helps to support the site.

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