Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Review: Detective Comic #937 Rise of the Batmen: Part 4 the Great Escape (Spoilers)

Review:  Detective Comic #937 Rise of the Batmen: Part 4 the Great Escape
Submitted by: Joshua Williams, Comic News Writer
2 August 16

Detective Comics #937 takes a basic approach: showing the ideals and struggles of working within a team.  Protecting Gotham is surely not a one-man job, as Gotham’s protector finds his hideout ransacked and his allies scattered.  Batman’s impromptu decision making is voided as he tends to make very important decisions especially for others without their consent or discussion.

“Rise of the Batmen: Part 4”, written by James Tynion IV, with penciler Alvarro Martinez and colorist Raul Fernandez, begins with the Batmen raiding and taking inventory of Batman’s belt gadgets.   Batman, after being physically restrained, manages to escape via a smoke bomb implanted into his tooth.  Inventory collection of Batman’s gadgets and technology proves to be futile just to the sheer amount of time and effort Batman has put into his gadgets.  There are just way too many to count!  This issue runs two parallel stories, one of which is the capture of Batman and the structure of his scattered team.  The comic then shifts to Red Robin (Tim Drake) leading the team of Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Orphan (Cassandra Cain), Basil Karlo (Clayface), and Catherine Kane (Batwoman) through the labyrinth that is the unused underground tunnels of old Gotham, in an effort to escape the Batmen. Red Robin leads the team to a brand new subway station that he has been building in an effort to get to one side of Gotham undetected and in very little time, via the Bat-Train.  Batwoman then decides to complete the mission of saving Batman and destroying the Batmen army for good.   Batwoman understands her father is behind the attack on Batman and their base.  She has a plan, which is to be revealed later.  The comic then shifts to back to Batman as he tracks The Colony and the army of Batmen.  Batman then comes to the desk and computer of Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong.  Armstrong is greeted with a slam into his servers as he approaches his office. We learn about Armstrong’s deep, intuitive drive to learn as much as possible about the Batman in an effort to create the Batmen army.  He proves this commitment by explaining and even showing Batman (via surveillance cameras) the capabilities of the Batmen army.  Batman is very displeased and proceeds to break Armstrong’s arm.  The Batmen army quickly comes to Armstrong’s aid throwing Batman through a window.  Here we learn that Bruce Wayne’s Uncle Jake is behind the development of The Colony and the Batmen Army.  Uncle Jake’s reasoning is derived primarily from the impending doom of The League of Shadows.  Jake knows that his nephew will never comply with the generalship of his Batmen Army.  Therefore, Uncle Jake has planned to incorporate his daughter, Batwoman, into the position of General.  Batman understands that the League of Shadows is not the imminent threat, but the League of Assassins (led by Ras al Ghul and his daughter Talia al Ghul) is the most prominent threat to Gotham.  Batwoman and company interrupt the discussion as she chooses a side, the side of Batman, taking on the Army of Batmen and her father, saving Batman’s life in the process.

James Tynion IV does a wonderful job bringing together this Bat-team, especially in the fashion of having Batman take a backseat in this particular team format.  Rarely, is Batman ever a by-product of a team faction.  Batman is traditionally the leader and rebels forcefully whenever he has been in the position of being affected by team decisions. Tynion successfully progresses the evolution of the Batman Saga, especially in the new DC Rebirth Universe, and does this without leaving anyone out.  Can Gotham be protected by one man?  Readers understand that the answer to this is a resounding: “NO!”  Frankly, Batman was never able to protect Gotham; however, Batman has always represented a beacon of hope for all of Gotham’s citizens.  The Verdict:  I was very impressed with Tynion’s interpretation and presentation of Batman and Company in the new DC Universe.  The artwork is also successful, showing the uneasiness for Batman of playing second fiddle in this issue.  Most of all the protagonist characters are never comfortable and oftentimes are shown off-balance in their appearance until the last page where they unify without consultation from Batman himself.  Lastly, Tynion does an incredible job building the contrast between Tim Drake and Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong, both being geniuses and benefiting from the capabilities of their new found inventions.  This could set up a compelling stand-off later in the series.  Looking forward to where DC takes these themes and how they further plan to incorporate all the members of the new team. 

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