Batman: Gates of Gotham #5 Review
- Published on Thursday, 25 August 2011 03:24
- Written by Kevin
While Flashpoint and Fear Itself may get the labels of being “game changing” events that will again change their respective universes Batman: Gates of Gotham has quietly been the best summer event. With each issue, Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins have done an effective job building this mini-series into a Batman event.
So far this has been an enjoyable story involving the main members of the Batman family going against a new character that holds ties to Gotham City’s past. With one issue left, I am looking forward to seeing how things turn out for the Batfamily. Let’s find out with Batman: Gates of Gotham #5.
Plot: Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins
Writers: Kyle Higgins and Ryan Parrott
Artists: Trevor McCarthy and Graham Nolan
Colorist: Guy Major
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On Kane Bridge, Batman (Dick Grayson) tells Commissioner Gordon to get his men off the bridge as he has Black Bat (Cassandra Cain) taking care of the bomb issue. He then begins fighting The Architect to buy Black Bat more time.
Underwater, Black Bat is able to reach the bombs. As she is figuring out how to disarm the bombs, Robin (Damian Wayne) shows up to help. Since the bomb is similar to the ones that The Architect used before Black Bat comes up with a plan and tells Robin to go get the Batboat.
Meanwhile, on the bridge Batman continues his fight with The Architect. While The Architect’s suit makes him much faster than a normal human Batman is able to use his superior acrobatic skills to keep stay ahead.
At that moment, Black Bat uses the Batboat to get the detonate bombs away from the city. This distracts The Architect for a second which is all Batman needs to tie him up.
With The Architect tied up, Batman explains that Nicolas Gates did not write the closing part of his diary in a regular prison but in Arkham City. Batman goes on to say that the suit Nicolas created had one big flaw and that was that it caused extreme decompressed sickness, leading to the wearer to suffer from delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. Batman than says that Alan Wayne wanted to protect the Gates Family name by covering up what truly happened to Nicolas.
The Architect does not believe Batman and lunges at him. Batman pulls a Matrix move and removes The Architects helmet. As The Architect says he will kill Batman we see Batman respond by knocking him out and leaving The Architect bleeding from the mouth and nose.
Later that night, Cassandra checks up on Tim who says he feels better. The two talk for a bit and Cassandra reveals that she likes being back in Gotham.
In the Batbunker, Dick is explaining everything that happened to Bruce and how he, Tim, Cassandra and Damian worked well together as a team. He also tells Bruce that though Nicolas may excuse what he did as being the suits fault it was really Gotham that revealed who Nicolas really was. He says that Gotham is a place that reveals a person’s true intentions and even when Dick thought being the Batman of Gotham would turn him into someone similar to Bruce, the opposite was true.
Happy to hear that Bruce says that in time Dick will become a better Batman than Bruce is. He then reveals that he is returning to Gotham much to Damian’s silent approval.
Flashing back to the past, we see a short scene that shows Alan Wayne and Cameron Kane agreeing to keep Nicolas Gates' insanity a secret in order to preserve the future of Gotham City. End of story.
The Good: With everything going at both DC Comics and Marvel as both companies look to shake things up for the billionth time with another "big" event; Batman: Gates of Gotham has proved itself to be the silent event that just worked in every way. The whole story works extremely well in continuing the build of everything Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Tony Daniel and others have been doing the past couple years in all the Batman books. Batman: Gates of Gotham #5 does the job of not only provided a great ending but one that will leave the reader looking forward to what happens next.
Even with the DCnU relaunch/reboot happening next month, Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins and Ryan Parrott leave the characters at a place that can work in the new universe. Each character in this story is given moments that will leave the reader looking forward to what happens to the character next instead of just happy that they got the spotlight in this event.
A lot of credit has to go to Higgins and Parrott for working extremely well together in order to capture all of the characters voice. All the characters are given time to shine. The story is also kept focused even with multiple writers working on both the plot and dialogue. I honestly did not even know Parrott joined Snyder and Higgins as part of the writing crew until I saw his name in the credits in the final page of this issue.
Everything in the story works well, even when The Architect is revealed to have gone crazy because of his suit. It works in context of all the background Snyder and Higgins have provided in the previous four issues. With the reveal of The Architect suit causing the wearer to become psychotic gives more depth to all of the journal entries in the previous issues. It gives the reader a reason to go back and read all the issues at once to catch small clues in the entries of Nicolas Gates increasing psychosis.
This also works well in further developing the new addition to Batman’s Rogues Gallery in The Architect who, not surprisingly, turned out to be Nicolas' descendent. The new villain's ties to not only the Wayne family but to the other three main Gotham families builds interest in seeing Batwoman, Hush and Penguin clashing with The Architect in the future. There is definitely a lot of potential for the character to grow as a bigger threat to the whole Batfamily.
The Architect provided a great challenge for Dick Grayson and showing how he is a different Batman from Bruce. Higgins and Parrott did a great job spotlighting Dick Grayson fighting style being one centered on wearing down his opponents with his speed and getting multiple hits in while Bruce is about getting the job done as quickly as possible. We also got to see how Dick is much more of a team player as he gives all the credit to Tim, Cass and Damian for their victory.
The final conversation scene between Bruce and Dick also provided even more support how Gotham City is as much of a character as the people who live in the city. This gives further support to what Snyder did during his Detective Comics as this issue shows that the city is built around the people who inhabit it. For better or worse the city reveals who you really are. Even with Dick given the role as the Batman of Gotham from Bruce this role only further highlighted the characters hope and positive outlook.
The final words Bruce left with in this issue also does the job of setting the stage for the new status quo for many of the Batman characters in the DCnU. Damian’s reaction to his father’s return was interesting considering how last time Bruce interacted with his son things did not go over so well. (As you can see in my review of Batman: The Return)
Cassandra Cain fans will be happy to see their underutilized character playing a prominent role in the story. It was nice to get her in the spotlight and figure out how to stop the threats of the bombs that not even Tim or Damian could figure out. The final scene between her and Tim work well to give some hope that she will show up in some form in the near future.
Though I was not a big fan of Trevor McCarthy and Graham Nolan artwork, I will say that it got the job done. Their artwork is not for everyone but I did like their art for the fight scenes between Batman and The Architect and the underwater scenes.
The Bad: As I said before, Trevor McCarthy and Graham Nolan is not for everyone. The art in this issue did not come together during the talking head moments as they revealed the weakness in the art. With the story being so strong I will not lie in that I did wish we could have gotten more of a A-list artist working on this event.
Overall: While 99% of DC Comics marketing has been geared towards Flashpoints importance and the DCnU relaunch/reboot Batman: Gates of Gotham snuck its way in to being the best event that we have gotten this year. Even without getting much attention Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins and Ryan Parrott combined to deliver a story worthy of being a big event. All the characters involved from Dick Grayson to the new villain, The Architect, were given plenty of growth as the event moved forward. Even underutilized characters like Cassandra Cain got to be in the spotlight for most of the story. If you are a Batman fan I highly recommend picking up Batman: Gates of Gotham when it comes out in trade as it was one of the best Batman events we have gotten in years.