[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art: Amancay Nahuelpan
Colors: Trish Mulvihill
Letters: Gabriela Downie
The story opens with Batman falling towards an airplane that is flying through the sky. We get an inkling of what’s going on from Batman’s interior monologue, he knows the people of Gotham City have put their trust in him and he knows he cannot let them down.
The scene then shifts back an hour and we learn that Zsasz has recently killed a man and his wife is now running for Senate with a platform of “Unmask the Bat.” Mrs. Carson believes that Batman has created his enemies with a love of violence that sends the message, “come play with me.” She holds Batman responsible for the death of her husband.
The scene switches again, and it’s clear that the airplane Batman is falling towards is the Mrs. Carson’s and Zsasz is aboard about to kill her and her son, Jordan. Batman swoops in and though saving Mrs. Carson and her son, he doesn’t save everyone on the plane.
Nahuelpan’s layouts, staging and execution of the falling and air sequences are quite effective and enjoyable. Nahuelpan also communicates the intensity and determination in Batman’s figure. It’s notable that the story itself is more than just a classic rescue. The midair rescue is quite exciting and innovative for Batman, but the backstory for Mrs. Carson creates an even more interesting and complex situation. Batman isn’t always able to save everyone, but this story addresses the nature of Batman himself and if his existence creates more issues than it solves.
Finally, Bruce’s inner monologue at the end of the tale compares a leap he took on his last night of training with his method of rescue of Carson and her son. Again, this shows something of Batman’s character and demonstrates that this one-off tale is deeper than the average one-off tale.
There really aren’t any obvious negatives here. There is of course the open ended “unmask the bat” legislation that could be an interesting storyline at a future time, but it’s interesting enough to want to see it addressed quickly.
This is a great one-off Batman tale that is reminiscent of stories from years gone by when comics were not always involved in multi-part stories. This story tells a meaningful story that not only attempts to look at the bigger picture of Batman’s affect on Gotham, but also the content of his character.