Continuing my look at the third week of DC Rebirth, today’s issue is Batman #1.
The issue starts with Gordon calling Batman to the roof of police headquarters to talk about a raid on a military base. Kobra forces obtained three surface to air missiles and the GCPD have recovered two. In the sky above them flies a plane, the occupants of we were shown on the first page. As Gordon and Batman converse, the third missile strikes the plane overhead.
Batman immediately chases after the plane. Contacting Duke Thomas, they calculate how Batman needs to launch the very Animated Series-looking Batmobile off a bridge and eject out to reach the plane. Per everything else Batman has ever done, they time it perfectly and Batman lands atop the plane!
While staying in contact with Alfred, Batman attaches the jets from his ejector seat to wings of the plane. When it becomes apparent that the plane will pass through two buildings that are closer than the wingspan of the plane, Batman directs Alfred to adjust the thrust to the jets so that the plane glides sideways in between the buildings.
Next, we are taken to the rooftop where the Kobra agent launched the missile. He is dead with his rocket launcher bearing the symbol of Kobra next to him. From the shadowy shadows in the shadowiest town in the DC universe lurks a shadowy be-trenchcoated figure who speaks from the shadows “Observe the clock, Batman.” It’s implied that this is the guy who killed the Kobra agent.
We don’t know yet who this character is. I’m hoping it’s someone new. I don’t need another Hush story. The reference to the clock makes me optimistic that it may be a new iteration of the Clock King. Maybe one closer to the Batman: the Animated Series version. Hopefully, they would start a new series with a new villain and not just bring back a random pre-existing one. (See above: Hush)
After pulling of this miraculous stunt, Batman and Alfred acknowledge that for Batman to accomplish what he is hoping to do, he will have to remain attached to the outside of the plane until impact. Batman relays instructions to Alfred to be carried out after his death. This scene turns on a dime from action-packed to heartbreaking. Batman asks Alfred if his parents would be proud of him. Then, taking a page out of Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, asks Alfred if this is a good death.
As soon as the plane hits the water, it comes back up. We are shown that it is being lifted by two figures. Initially, Batman asks if it is Superman answering his summons for help.
Instead, the last page reveals:
We are introduced to 2 new super-powered beings, Gotham and Gotham Girl. Who are these startling new heroes? Where do they come from? Are they connected to the shadowy figure from earlier? (My guess is yes. You don’t get to show up Batman in Gotham City without getting some comeuppance later. Plus, there’s no way that Batman is cool with anyone saying Gotham is “their” city.) All these answers and more are sure to be revealed to us in later issues.
This is a really good first issue. Showing Batman overcoming ridiculous odds and willing to sacrifice himself to save the people of Gotham City. This is a problem that should be out of Batman’s league. Instead, he figured out how to save the day even if it would have cost him his life.
The larger point here is sure to be what Gotham and Gotham Girl bring to the story. Will their abilities make them better protectors for Gotham City? Why do you need a masked vigilante running around if you have 2 “Supermen” flying around? What happens when a problem is too large for Batman, as seen here?
I pick up Batman regularly, so I’m sure to keep getting it, but this looks like a story I want to pick up, not just to complete a series. I’m interested to see where this story is going and am looking forward to it.
So, until I start making Bruce Wayne money, just remember that only Jack Kirby can judge me.