Reading “Batman and The Signal” is like watching a Home-Run happen in slow-motion.
At first glance, “Batman and The Signal” felt slightly insulting.
Spawning from “We Are Robin” and “Batman: Endgame”, Duke Thomas’ new mantle as the Nightwing-but-with-powers known as “The Signal” seemed to be the writers picking an obvious direction to go in. Over the first couple of panels they called themselves out though, especially for the die-hard Batman fans who are all thinking “is DC seriously answering the question every non-Batman fan would ask” i.e.: if Batman only goes out at night, what if Super Villains showed up during the day?
Until I read Issue #1.
Luckily they answer that quickly and make a strong statement in Issue #1, or at least strong enough to bring you up to speed with our new hero and his mindset from a diary standpoint, if you had never read “Batman: Superheavy” or any of the “We Are Robin” titles.
A good comic series is like a good TV Show: the Pilot is important but the next 5 episodes after it are even more so.
Getting into Issue #2 I was just as skeptical, and equally happy with the result. This issue expands on showing Duke’s early struggles as a “Meta” (Meta being the DC equivalent of Mutant) while he grows into his new role as non-sidekick as well as introducing our primary villain. These writers (Snyder, Patrick, Hamner, Martin) have, across two issues, found that balance every Origin Story needs.
Yeah, it’s not actually his true origin story, that was taken care of in a different run of Batman. But consider this: they could have just as easily called this series “The Signal: Year One”.
Whatever they call it, read it. Of all the Robin incarnations over the years and Batman Family spin-offs, this one has laid very good ground early on and is a great pickup whether you’ve read Duke stuff or not. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
-B.K. Mullen @bkmullen_