Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tom King
Art: Tony Salvador Daniel
Colours: Tomeu Morey
Inks: John Livesay & Tony Salvador Daniel
Release Date: 18th April 2018
Booster Gold is looking for Batman, but something is very wrong with Gotham and its heroes. Gold, being the colourful goofball that he is, has gone back in time and changed a few key events, bringing about an even darker and more disturbing version of the Gotham we all know and love.
Tom King brings us a fascinating take on Gotham City where Batman works to a different set of rules and is far removed from the Caped Crusader we know from the standard DCU timeline. As a result, we see a city wrapped in chaos, heroes either absent or under some kind of weird altered state of mind and all because Booster Gold wanted to present Batman with a unique gift. Not unlike Flashpoint we are shown that a single event, a single moment in time altered can bring about catastrophic events and completely re-write the universe as we know it.
I am a bit of a sucker for alternate timelines and “Elseworlds”-esque stories and this is exactly what we are given here. A bleak, hopeless world with few redeeming qualities, the city itself literally on fire as all-out war and chaos bleeds onto the streets. King has taken a familiar concept but made it his own and it sets the scene for an exciting adventure.
Tony S Daniel returns to the series and his work on this issue is sublime! The way he brings these altered heroes to life is absolutely stunning, but it is his depiction of the Dark Knight himself that is the unquestioned star of the show. Tomeu Morey’s colours help to paint the hellscape of the alternate Gotham City, giving the proceedings a dark-yet-vibrant appearance. The combined efforts of two such talented artists provide the narrative with a cinematic look that is both spellbinding and horrific.
Given that this is an entirely new story – and one designed to seemingly standalone – this is an ideal place for new readers to pick up and for existing readers to cleanse their palettes. The temptation when a short arc like this comes along which deviates from the big event we are waiting for (in this case the marriage of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle) can sometimes be to skip it and dismiss it as filler, however, I would strongly advise against that on this occasion.
With Flashpoint, we witnessed what would happen if Barry Allen’s mother had never died and this book asks a similar question about the origin of Bruce Wayne and the legacy of Batman. I won’t go into detail as my words would fail to paint the scenario quite as eloquently or masterfully as King has here, but the sting in the tail at the end of this issue is just fantastic. I would strongly recommend not reading the solicitation for this book as it serves as a spoiler not just to this issue, but to the story as a whole and I am actually flabbergasted that someone thought it was a good idea to publish it before the second part of this story was made available.
In the end this is a well-written and visually stunning issue which provides an exciting twist on an old formula. My only complaint is that the seemingly hopeless situation Booster Gold is left in at the end of the issue has already been spoiled by the solicitation but that is not something we can hold the creative team accountable for.
The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato