“The Gift” Part 2
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Tony Daniel
Batman is one of the most popular comic book characters of all time. While the world knows of more than just ‘Superman’, ‘Batman’, and ‘Spider-Man’ thanks to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Batman still means a lot to many people. I grew up on Adam West, Michael Keaton, and Kevin Conroy as my Batman and I was a big fan—of the film and TV versions. I had never read an issue of Batman, Detective Comics, or any other title from DC.
When DC started The New 52, it felt like the best time to jump on board; though I only committed to Batman written by Scott Snyder and art by Greg Capullo. I was an instant fan—issue 5 of that run is still something I talk about to this day. Because of those creators, I slowly became a massive DC fan; having found opportunities to write or talk about that world as often as I can.
PREVIOUSLY ON ‘BATMAN’
That brings us to Rebirth and Tom King. Until mid to late 2017, I hadn’t read many comics since 2012 or 2013—it was becoming an expensive hobby. When I did start reading again, I dipped my toes in with Batgirl and Dark Nights: Metal.
I’ve recently decided to pick up King’s run on Batman, and it’s been pretty exciting. Prior to Batman #46, it’s been a strong run with few, if any, misses. While I’m not a fan of smaller story arcs in Batgirl, they work for Batman. Ultimately, that’s because of the grander story being told throughout the run—forbidden love. While it’s always been destined that Lois and Clark would be together, it seemed like Bruce would forever be a loner. King has done an excellent job weaving this love story into the Bat-mythos for nearly two years—it’s beautiful.
If I’m being honest, The Gift storyline being told in Batman #45 and Batman #46 thus far is the first arc that feels like a misfire. It’s certainly interesting—Booster Gold going back in time, saving Bruce’s parents to show Bruce that what you want isn’t necessarily what’s best—it’s actually pretty intriguing. It just feels like it came out of no where. Perhaps that’s the point; time travel and all.
Part of the issue for me is that I know very little about Booster Gold. Through the issue, he seems content with what he’s done and does to attempt to course correct. Perhaps it’s his jovial mood in a Gotham that’s even worse than we’ve come to known, but it all just seems mean.
ITS NOT ALL BAD
Just because I’m not into this current arc, doesn’t mean I can’t see some great stuff Batman #46. Dick Grayson is the one to become Batman, a Batman who doesn’t have that one rule. The rest of the Bat-family have also taken different walks of life, but seem SIMILAR—save for Duke Thomas; we’ve only seen a glimpse, but what’s going on with him?
Bruce, having an idea of this alternate timeline, chose to keep his parents. In this life, he has no war on crime—he’s simply happy with his parents. Selina, on the other hand, is locked up in Arkham and is unusually quiet. Does Booster Gold’s idea to reunite these true loves work? If it does, surely Bruce will assist Booster in getting back to course correct the timeline. If it doesn’t… well, there will be blood.
While I’m still figuring out what I think about the story of Batman #46, it can’t be denied that King’s writing is strong. I binge read the last 46 issues, so I do need to read this title at a normal pace before I can truly define how I feel about King, but one thing is certain—King knows how to take Batman and make a romance story out of it. Issues #36 and #37 may be my favorite reads of the year so far; and it certainly King is certainly at his strongest in that vein.
Tony Daniel’s art is amazing. As soon as I saw we were get a Catwoman costume that resembled 1992’s Batman Returns, I knew I was going to LOVE to look at his book. Batman #46 takes place in an alternate Gotham that under fire—it gives Daniel an opportunity to paint Gotham in a horrifying, war-torn, light. While I’m typically a story-driven consumer, Daniel’s art is what I look forward to most in this alternate timeline arc.
I’ve really enjoyed King’s run on Batman and, now that I’m caught up, look forward to reading at a normal pace to fully enjoy his work. This alternate timeline story arc is interesting, but came out of no where. Having binge read this entire run is likely why this arc feels off; but the art is too good to not want to see more of it; especially the way Batman #46 ends.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment
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