Story-Arc: Gates of Gotham.
Writer(s): Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins & Ryan Parrott.
Illustrator(s): Trevor McCarthy, Graham Nolan, Dustin Nguyen & Derec Donovan.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: November 13th 2018 (first published February 7th 2012).
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Many are quick to judge Gotham as one of the worst places to live in with the omnipresent criminal activity that pollutes its alleys and sewers. They aren’t wrong. With it being the ideal dark underbelly for your most evil ambitions, you could imagine that it would be easy to blend with the rest of the criminals and not stick out as a sore thumb in a city like Metropolis for example. It’s its vile and dangerous atmosphere that ultimately leads the city to need heroes who act outside the law in order to purge it of its criminality, but Gotham is much more than just a city. It has a life of its own and a story that goes with it. From its geographic location to its rich history, the city is drenched in the sweat and blood of many philanthropist and some ill-intentioned evil-doers. Their decisions are what brings to life a city that desperately needs heroes to assure the safety of everyone.
Batman: Gates of Gotham is the story of Gotham and its founding families. While at the turn of the century some of the most prestigious and rich individuals reunited their efforts in order to modernize Gotham City, today a madman runs loose with explosives tearing it all down into the ground. With unclear motivations and an impatience that drives him to act recklessly but also dangerously, this brand-new villain with a steam-punk’ish design looks to give Gotham its proper send-off. Looking to end the madness, Batman works with Robin, Red Robin and Black Bat to uncover the mystery behind this new villain who goes by the name of the Architect. This deluxe edition collects the full Gates of Gotham miniseries issues #1-5, Higgins’ and McCarthy’s debut story ‘The Nightrunner’ where the Batman of Paris makes an appearance, variant covers of single issues as well as sketchbook bonus material.
Since the story is set around the end of Grant Morrison’s famous Batman run, especially closer to the Return of Bruce Wayne story arc, you’ll find yourself with good ol’ Dick Grayson in the mantle of Batman. Trying to fill the shoes of Bruce Wayne, he shows throughout the story that there’s nothing easy to the task, but that the task is without a doubt a necessary one for the people of Gotham and their hopes of a safer place to live in. While still a rookie as Batman, his skill set is still undeniable. After all, he has the most experience among the Bat family, especially as someone who has understood Bruce Wayne better than anyone else—besides Alfred. To help him out, the story also integrates and develops Robin (Damian Wayne), Red Robin (Tim Drake) and Black Bat (Cassandra Cain). While the cast is huge, the writers on this mini-series does marvelous job in each of their characterization and creates a very authentic dynamic between each other.
The mystery that essentially serves as the foundation to this story is also intriguing and not too complicated to follow, giving fans the opportunity to indulge Gotham and its history. Nonetheless, the story does a great job in balancing the plot with rich characters and great artwork. While it alternates between two timelines (past and present), the artwork definitely worked better for the sequences set in the past as it gave it a Victorian edge with some vintage opulence. With the help of Scott Snyder, Higgins and McCarthy definitely make an excellent creative duo. However, it is worth mentioning that the inclusion of their ‘The Nightrunner’ story was completely unnecessarily. The story of a Sunni Muslim living in France who is invited to become the Batman of Paris after showing some parkour skills made no sense in itself, and even less when you try to understand the pertinence of including it in this volume.
Batman: Gates of Gotham gives Gotham an alluring origin story that leads to inevitable family warfare with its historical buildings as the ultimate collateral damage.