[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Matt Banning, David Finch
Batman has to take on a broken and demented Gotham who’s been under the control of the Psycho Pirate! What can Batman do against someone with super strength and near-invulnerability? As Gotham rages out of control–Batman’s choices are becoming fewer and fewer. Will he have to put down Gotham once and for all? Or will an intervention by the Justice League save them both?
“I Am Gotham Part 5,” written by Tom King and penciled by David Finch, throws us right in the middle of a showdown between Gotham and…Alfred?! Yes, that is NOT a typo! Alfred in a distraction to slow down a crazed Gotham and to buy Batman time to get downtown dons the cape and cowl and drives the Batmobile! This is something that was totally unexpected and Alfred does it all with such a witty, sarcastic style. Out of this brief moment of laughter–we get chaos when Batman finally arrives on scene and warns Gotham to stand down–while he’s systematically beating him. Not to give away too much of the book but the arrival of the Justice League should’ve ended the fight however it doesn’t. King does a great job of showing that the League’s arrival means nothing in Gotham City! It’s a city that plays by its own rules, and that is demonstrated with the fight between the League and the crazed hero Gotham himself. The end result isn’t Batman or even the Justice League as a whole that puts the maddened hero down for good, but an outside force that does so for Gotham’s own benefit. I’m not gonna spoil it for you by saying who, but the character basically has a coming of age moment and I think King is going to use this particular chapter to catapult them into an origin story of their own.
My only complaint about this story is that we still don’t know the location of Hugo Strange and Psycho Pirate! At first this was clearly acceptable due to the fact that Strange has never been a directly confrontational villain–however I’d thought Strange would at least show up in a panel or two to taunt Batman or at least to let him know he was directly responsible. I’m thinking that while all of this chaos is going on throughout the city that Strange is somewhere preparing something way worse–and I may be right. King is on the right track with the great story telling so far, however I’d like to see a panel or at least a hint of what Strange’s master plan is. This book gives us no indication of that and that’s completely fine — I just hope the next issue doesn’t give us the same look.
“I Am Gotham Part 5” is an amazing read! Here we get great action and also a great story! King does a great job with the pacing of the book which gives you action and emotion on virtually every page. Finch multiplies the awesomeness further by giving us great artwork with it! Each panel from explosions, to confrontations, to the smallest emotional moment is done with painstaking effort. I’ve enjoyed Finch’s work on this book so far and can’t wait to see more of it. My only hope is that next issue we finally see Batman catch up to either Psycho Pirate and Strange–and don’t forget that the government and Amanda Waller are still involved too! Definitely check out Batman #5, it’s worth the read!!!