Thursday, April 20, 2017

(DC Rebirth) Batman by Tom King issue #4

The scope of David Finch's art for this issue in particular is outstanding, and that is not at all an understatement. Certain illustrations stood out, most notably pages that depicted gore and violence. I'm never that squeamish when it comes to seeing blood and guts in any medium I consume such as in television shows and comic books, but Finch's illustrations definitely made me stop and stare for a while just to appreciate the quality and breadth that he had contributed solely for this fourth issue. I don't think Tom King's story would be nearly as effective in form if Finch wasn't the artist who drew its scenes to life.

The fourth installment for I Am Gotham was provocative, especially since it made such a complete turn for the worst since last issue. The body count is unapologetically high and committed by the one person I never wanted to become bloodthirsty and possessed. The detestably fruitful alliance between Dr. Hugo Strange and Psycho Pirate yielded some terrible consequences. These two assholes managed to capture and inflict serious psychological damage on aspiring superheroes Gotham and Gotham Girl (Hank and Claire) who did not stand a chance so now the former has went on a psychotic rampage while the latter was reduced into a sniveling weak mess and had to be put under Alfred's care. It was a rather shocking escalation. I know things will go bad---but I did not expect that it would become even worse so soon. This was an overall spectacular issue, given the tight suspenseful drama at its core and Finch's impressive body of work for each page. King was also winning me over as a writer at this point.

However, there are a few things that didn't make sense to me, such as the participation of Amanda Waller in all this clusterfuck and apparently an appearance by the Suicide Club might just take place somewhere down the pipeline. But I digress.

What I want to tackle is Hank's regressed state which happened so quickly and so violently that I had to flip back and forth between pages just to make sure I'm witnessing such gruesome events unfold for real, and that they were all because of his doing. From a promising earnest idealist, Hank had now become a deranged killer who are doing things that go against everything he wanted to stand for as Gotham and according to what he wanted to emulate from Batman. It was mortifying and I hope to all the gods this can be fixed soon because I actually like him and his sister. Claire also needs to get back in shape and stop crying because I've grown tired of females being portrayed as broken damsels after a villain had took possession of their minds or some shit like that. 

I was pretty disappointed that she just broke down into an emotional mess. Not that going on a rampage like her brother did would be an improvement in her characterization but at least then she would be doing something instead of clinging onto Duke's arms for consolation. But then again, it needs to be pointed out that Gotham Girl seems to exist because Claire herself was said to be mirroring whatever her big brother wants to do, so she doesn't have a lot of things going for her in the first place already, so is it really such a surprise she would be so easy to manipulate and discard? I sure hope King can fairly resolve Claire's part in the equation. I know Hank well enough but I don't really know that much about Claire.

On more pressing matters, Batman tried his best to get through Hank but he was beyond reasoning with at this point.

Now that is some heavy Break-The-Cutie stuff

I can't wait to see how this drama would resolve and devolve yet again in the next issue.


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