Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tom King
Art: Tony Salvador Daniel
Colours: Tomeu Morey
Inks: Sandu Florea, Danny Miki, Tony Salvador Daniel
Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 16th May 2018
The thrilling conclusion to The Gift is here, and things take a very dark turn as Booster enacts a desperate plan to fix the “Bat-point Paradox” he has created. Bruce makes Booster an offer after resurrecting Skeets, but the cost may prove way too high.
It’s hard not to be impressed by King and his re-imagining of Gotham caused by the removal of our titular hero. His absence has had a profound effect on the city and its inhabitants; one small change has acted as a catalyst for absolute chaos to bloom and though the idea of Batman has been taken up by another, the impact is easy to see.
There are also questions raised that I hadn’t considered before. Bruce himself becomes hardened after the death of his parents during the battle between Batman and Catwoman, and ultimately a decision is made in the final pages that would never have occurred during the events of the prime timeline. In contrast, Bruce’s childhood trauma seems to not only have been what drives him, but also what gave him the strength he has today. After all, when he has already lost everything what has he to be afraid of? It will be interesting to see if this is a foreshadowing of sorts for what we can expect when Selina and Bruce finally tie the knot. Will this give him a new weak spot that his enemies can use against him?
Daniel’s art is fantastic in this issue. The panels are as exquisitely detailed as before but the colours really add depth to this insane take on the world. The leap to the ally portion of the story subtly returns Gotham itself to a more traditional look with a much darker colour palette used to augment the striking art courtesy of Tomeu Morey.
This arc has taken us on a fantastic journey, and one that revisits a scene we have seen played out over various Batman books and media, giving is a truly a unique twist. The deus ex machina deployed feels earned due to the nature of the tale and, in true paradoxical fashion, ends in a way that should not be possible (although when Booster Gold is involved, anything can and will happen).
Booster himself is an interesting part of this story with all his flaws, boundless optimism and attempts to prove his importance to the other heroes. Even though often played for laughs this story has him take a more interesting route and one that paints him as a slightly tragic character.
King and his creative team have proven time and again that we can have smaller stories in between larger arcs without them feeling like filler. These stories, though shorter in scope, are some of the most interesting takes on the Dark Knight’s mythos to date and help dissect characters and events rarely touched on. If you are not already picking this book up you really need to start, as Batman remains one of the best DC titles on sale today.
The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato