By Scott Snyder
In the absence of Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson (the first Robin) steps in as Batman and encounters a new generation of criminals, each of them more vicious than their predecessors. Batman realizes that these new villains are somehow, though unwillingly, connected. As Batman struggles with each of his opponents escaping, and the underlying mystery between them, Commissioner Gordon struggles with Gotham’s new villainy and his unsolved cases. Gordon is thrown into further turmoil with the return of his newly reformed son, James Gordon Jr, who had violent tendencies as a child but now attempts to reconcile with his family. This is one of the best standalone Batman stories, and it doesn’t even have Bruce Wayne in it. While it does have an underlying mystery and new villains, the main point of the book is that Gotham is changing, and Batman and the Commissioner don’t know how to deal with it. While it has a lot of action pieces, it focuses more on the internal conflicts of the characters, and it’s also heavy with narration. It pushes a theme of Gotham being an unsavable city, and it’s apparent that despite Bruce Wayne being at ease in Gotham, Dick Grayson dislikes the city as a whole and the endless struggle that comes with it. But the events in the book make it so that despite what he goes through in Gotham, he decides he has to stay and protect the city so that it doesn’t get worse. If there is one problem I have with the book, it’s that it has plot points that never get resolved; it was written before the entire DC universe got rebooted and didn’t get the follow-up it needed; despite that, I believe that it’s still great.
Reviewed by Gavin
View in Library Catalogue: Graphic Novel