Pick of the Week (Aug. 17th): Batman #5

Batman #5

Writer: Tom King

Pencils: David Finch

Inks: Sandra Hope, Matt Banning, Scott Hanna

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

Batman #5 is the culmination of the build up of this story arc. Since we were first introduced to Gotham Man and Gotham Girl we have sensed a fight was on the horizon and issue 5 provided us with that payoff. The issue picks up with Gotham Man on a rampage in downtown Gotham city. He blames the literal city it’s self for all of the pain in his life. He is fueled by sheer rage. Rage that has been drawn out of him by the Psyco-Pirate whose power is to bring out emotions in people. Batman isn’t on the scene yet and calls upon Alfred to dawn the cowl and stall Gotham Man until he can arrive. Alfred first rams Gotham man with the Batmobile before exiting and confronting him head on.I have never read Alfred written better than by Tom King who flexed his knowledge of who Alfred is and how Alfred would act. Plus seeing Alfred’s thin mustache peaking out from under the Batman cowl was a pure delight. Batman arrives on the scene just before Alfred i in any real danger and Alfred promptly (and comically) flees the scene. Next is a battle of epic proportions between Gotham Man and Batman. Meanwhile Gotham Girl has woken up from her coma is seeking comfort and clarity from Duke. Who explains the situation to her and asks for her help. The Psyco-Pirate has brought out fear in her and it is a struggle for her to even leave her bed. Back in Gotham Batman realizes he is fighting a losing battle and enlists the help of a few of his friends. Is it enough to stop Gotham Man? You’ll have to read for yourself.

This issue has a few more spoilers that I won’t talk about in this review, but it’s safe to say that Tom King really sets up his next arc in the last act of this issue, and I for one am very interested to see how the story plays out. The pace of this issue is frantic, with mass destruction of buildings, people, cars, even planes. I love how King is using a physical embodiment of the concept of Gotham against Batman. Batman loves Gotham and does everything he can to save and protect it. Gotham Man represents all of Batman’s failures. All of Batman’s limitations are brought to light during his battle with Gotham Man. I also like that in King’s current run of Batman we see a titular character who isn’t afraid to ask for help. Who is learning he can lean on and depend on others for once. That started with the idea of Duke Thomas not being another Robin, but rather an equal with Batman himself. It’s mirrored in this Batman’s willingness to call in a few friends in this issue and in him even working with Gotham Man and Gotham Girl in the first place. I wonder if the next arc of this story sees that willingness to trust back fire on Batman. There is a huge reveal at the end of the issue that could have a major impact on the status quo, but again I won’t spoil that for you.

The art in this issue is very good with David Finch providing excellent Pencil work. He has a style that really draws out the action and makes it seem dynamic and moving. Finch also does a great job with facial expressions. The most emotional scenes of the book are in the Batcave between Duke and Gotham Girl, Finch is able to really sell those moments with his rendering of facial expressions.  The color art by Jordie Bellaire is really top notch with her use of dark earth tones to paint an almost noir (but not quite) picture of Gotham. This color style is quite a different use of color than Scott Snyder’s last Batman run which was uncharacteristically bright (not that that’s a bad thing). All and all the art in this issue is exceptionally good.

If you have been holding off on buying this series I recommend that you run straight away to your nearest local comic shop and rectify the situation This has been consistently one of the best titles in a stellar Rebirth relaunch for DC. Below in the gallery are the two covers the title shipped with. Rating: 10/10