Wednesday, January 3, 2018

SPOILERS: Batman and the Signal #1

You know what turns out to be really weird? A book set in Gotham, entirely in the day time. Visually it's just strange.

The Spoilers:

There's a lot going on with Duke, and it's kind of hard to navigate, but that's the thing, it's hard for him too. So Duke is a metahuman, we found that out in the Metal preludes. The way he sees light, he can predict movements, and you know in the Batman games Batman can just sort of make up holograms of shit that happened? Well Duke can see left over light or something? Think of him sort of like Daredevil. And he operates in Gotham, during the day. WEIRD.

So anyways, there's been a bunch of Metahuman kids popping up in his neighborhood, some get into bad shit, and no one knows why. Duke knows he's been fighting them, that's about it. There's a lot more going on that I'm just going to list... There's a one armed GCPD agent who moved to the day shift to look into this stuff. Bruce gave Duke his own HQ and that's when they came up with The Signal. Duke lives with his Cousin now, dates one of the girls from We Are Robin, and another one of them hangs out with them (they're all investigating the metahuman stuff too). There's a juvenile Arkham, where all the kid Metahumans are being sent. Finally, for some reason, all the Metahumans Duke has encountered, their cells react to him.

So naturally, Duke investigates the new Arkham facility, breaks in, and finds that all the cells are empty, there's an evil voice who starts to talk to him, and oh no, all the metas are organized under mysterious evil guy.

The Opinion:

So I'll be honest, it's been like two weeks since I read this issue and I don't have time to get this done and reread it in the same night, so sorry for the abbreviation. So what I remember coming out of this is that I generally think the day time Gotham operating is kind of cool, because it's just so visually weird. Hamner and Martin do a great job of depicting Gotham in a light I have literally never seen before. This is all made even more novel by some flavor moments of citizens reacting to Duke's fight in the opening like "What the hell, day time is supposed to be the part of the day we don't worry about this." It's clever.

For the story itself, there's a lot of world building, which is a blessing and a curse. Lots of stuff to set Duke up against, but Duke as a character... I feel like his development has just been missing every other piece. He's been developed here and there through various series, but every time I go from one to the next, I just feel like I've missed something in between with him. First it was Batman... I barely remember We Are Robin happening, then there was the story that promised a lot of revelations in All-Star Batman, yet that was super vague and lord knows if it would be followed up on... then Metal had some stuff about him... and now we're here and it just feels like the line from point A to B just vanished for a bit? I don't know. Hopefully this book fixes all that and really gives Duke a footing, because I think the idea is solid and has a lot of potential. Plus, a three issue series is a weird number of issues, so you got to figure something else is coming, because how do you collect this? ...unless it's the All Star Back Up, the two Metal one shots and this book... oh that's how.


  1. I like what I've seen with the powers so far, love the unique premise and direction, but some of the exposition is a tad clunky ("I was asking about you, Duke Thomas, my boyfriend"... yeesh), as if it's afraid we've forgotten who Duke and the We Are Robin people were (to be fair, some of us did).

    Also, have to laugh at Batman's take that "Lark" is "too soft". Because Robins are totally badass birds, right?

    1. Robins are badass birds Robins are small, fearless, violently territorial psychos. Damian has pretty much got the personality of a Robin.

      From wikipedia

      Male robins are noted for their highly aggressive territorial behaviour. They will fiercely attack other males and competitors that stray into their territories and have been observed attacking other small birds without apparent provocation. Such attacks sometimes lead to fatalities, accounting for up to 10% of adult robin deaths in some areas

    2. Wow. TIL Robins are kinda badass.