Review: Batman: Gotham Nights #20
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Priscilla Petraites
Colors: Inaki Miranda
Letters: Nick Filardi
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
In Batman: Gotham Nights #20 it’s a case of mistaken identity. In this case, a collection of Batman’s rogues hunt an innocent man. The Dark Knight must team with his allies to protect an innocent bystander. But will he sacrifice his secret identity in the process?
How important is the identity of Batman? If you believe the history and the mythos of superheroes a secret identity means everything. Which is why it is often reinforced that Batman can never unmask.
So what would happen if the criminal underground believed it knew Batman’s identity and it was someone other than Bruce Wayne? In this case, it’s a detective by the name of Marcus Brady. First, he’s attacked by Harley, and then he’s abducted by The Riddler, Penguin, Carmine Falcone, Two-Face, and Catwoman.
Catwoman is a delight in this issue. She looped Batman into what’s happening and the danger that detective Brady is in. She’s both a brilliant mole and a great actor. Given how much of a wild cannon she can be, it is often a surprise when the other villains include her in their plans.
Matches Malone offers a nice touch of humor. Readers familiar with his previous stories will enjoy this brief appearance. But it’s also a great opportunity to display recent developments in Batman’s Tech designed to protect his identity. In this instance, it’s a fun twist on an old idea.
The aptly titled Identity Crisis has all of the best elements of a heist story. There’s even a planned unmasking to throw the rogues off-track. But the identity is one the reader should uncover for themselves. No doubt it will provide useful fodder in the expansion of Batman’s mythology.
While Harley is often a nice addition to a story for the unique voice that her character can provide, she feels a little underused in this tale. Even though she does make the most of her moments and this is at most a minor detraction, it is noticeable and a break in the flow. But it raises the question if another villain might have made for a better fit?
Writer Marc Guggenheim does an amazing job of creating tension. It starts on the first page and like a snowball down a hill builds into a terrifying boulder demolishing everything in its path. From the use of Catwoman to the suggestion of Tim Drake’s assistance to the lovely reminder of the role that Alfred provided as the anchor, this story is an homage to all the wonderful elements that fans love about Batman. It even ends with the famous line, “I’m Batman.”
Like so many great stories Identity Crisis offers a glimpse into a moment in Batman’s history that is viewed from a new perspective and from that readers get a great new story. And for a bonus, The Riddler answers a question instead of posing one.