Written by: Tom King
Art by: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oclair Albert and Scott Hanna
Batman #6, I thought, was to introduce a new story arc, and while for all intents and purposes it does that, it’s actually referred to as an epilogue for the first arc, I Am Gotham. Maybe it was Gotham (the man’s) untimely demise that Gotham (the city) needed to breathe in some fresh air, but issue #6, focusing heavily on Gotham Girl, is a step back in the right direction after a series of dwindling efforts.
The comic opens with a somewhat altered color palette, which really works well. We aren’t with Batman in these moments, nor are we with the rage-filled Gotham. We are with his sister, who is definitely grieving, but has sort of disassociated from the whole situation. So the lighter, more inviting initial pages made thematic sense for what we were seeing. Gotham Girl also gives herself an awesome makeover that I won’t spoil here, but suffice it to say she has remade her image, and though it’s apparently out of her Psycho-Pirate-induced daze, she’s better off for it.
The second half of the comic is what really sold me on issue #6. It looked like we would be getting an issue entirely devoid of Batman, but he does show up at the end and the scenes between him and Gotham Girl, whom he addresses by her real name, Claire, are really poignant. She carries the issue very well on her own. Some parts are hard to follow, but that seems deliberate. Her mind is all over the place, so naturally it’s hard to track everything she’s saying as she expresses her confused heart and mind in a stream-of-consciousness sort of way.
At this point, I don’t think I’ll ever get over the hokey-ness (is that a word?) of Gotham and Gotham Girl. Their names, their costumes, their general presentation — it all speaks (and spoke, RIP Hank) to that bygone comic book era of decades past. I’ve said that in past reviews, and I now see it’s never going away. But I’m much more comfortable with it now. Claire feels like a real character. She’s someone I care to see develop moving forward, so much so that I hope she can be saved and returned to a more, uh, functional state. I don’t just wish her character a strong progression, I wish her well. That’s an achievement on Tom King’s part, and I’m excited to see where he — she — no, where we go next.