Batman vs. Bigby! A Wolf in Gotham #1
In this kickoff of the new Batman series, where the Bat Family faces off with Bigby, apparent werewolf, we are treated to several things. I’m sorry, did I say Bigby? I meant “Bigby!” because this guy doesn’t even get a traditional title colon. He’s got a legit exclamation point. There’s building suspense for a peek at the wolf, which is my way of saying, “Dude, where’s my werewolf??” I can see indications of him in the art, in his found carnage, and in the warnings from , but I want to SEE him. Looking forward to the possibility of that following Batman vs Bigby! A Wolf in Gotham #1. We also get a detailed look at the cast of characters in Gotham who will factor in this storyline, and a hint at the power of Bigby, the titular Wolf in Gotham. (See “his carnage” back there, for the most visceral hint at his power.)
Written by: Bill Willingham
Art by: Brian Level & Jay Leisten
Colors by: Lee Loughridge
Cover Art by: Yanick Paquette
Letters by: Steve Wands
This story begins three days before the surprising climax of the first issue and leaves us with very special bait — specially prepared and decked out in chains to lure the mysterious wolf. It seems to be simultaneously boldly and stealthily exerting his fierceness in Gotham. The lead-off is also rife with details about Gotham players, both possible villains and known allies of Batman, from the Bat Fam to Commissioner and his Lieutenant Molly Grace, a transfer who is the lead on a recent series of wolf homicides. It is here we both learn of how much of a spree the wolf is on, and are also treated to great visuals from the creative team in the form of not just one page with a hint of a full moon shaped set of panels, but also another panel that looks like a literal artistic depiction of a figurative “blood moon” if it were to be the work of a powerful lycanthrope instead of an occasional natural phenomenon.
Possible villains of interest center around a powerful boss — an apparent investment banker who only names people around him, and is clearly a man of big business and opulent tastes. We see a posh retirement party for a Mr. Austen, who the investment banker’s main underbosses appear to find a threat in and of himself. Though it’s clear this villainous, self-proclaimed “gentleman” has loyal and brutal men working closely with him, I am also intrigued by his side-bar conversation with his date, the aptly named Ms. Stacks, who hints that she may be the only one to know his true identity as of yet. He may well be from the Fables community like our wolf Bigby. How appropriate to have a female companion built like a proverbial “brick house” to accompany a villain in a story with a wolf. Perhaps we’ll see if his huff and puff can handle her as easily as he seems to be dispatching his less alluring foes so far, once we get deeper into the story line after this issue, too.
Each of the three days counted down to the ending of this issue in the present brings more of Batman’s anger to a roiling boil, driven by the need to protect his loved ones, Gotham City included. And with the end panel teasing “Next: Blow your house down,” this reader needs some payoff soon. Bring on the Big Bad! This blerd girl has had plenty of build-up and is ready for the main event… or at least a sneak peak at what Bigby(!) is truly bringing to Batman’s front door. I may be a bit disappointed that only the artists hinted at this wolf, but I look forward to seeing more story development soon from this creative team. There are plenty of ways to go from here.