by Michael DeLaney
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
What is Batman’s weakness? Some might say his mortality, some might say his relationships, while others might argue that Batman has no weaknesses. Batman 28 argues that Batman’s largest, most vulnerable spot might be Gotham City itself.
Gotham’s villains have split in two under The Joker or The Riddler. In the opening pages of Batman 28, Tom King and Mikel Janin provide subtle details for the difference in the two villains’ MO. In an attempt to broker peace Commissioner Gordon visits Joker and Riddler, who both have particular requests for him to honor.
Riddler has Gordon led by armed guard down a very precise route while dressed as a prisoner while Joker merely has ‘ol Jim stripped down to his skivvies — an echo of The Killing Joke things to come.
Mikel Janin establishes the two separate strongholds: Riddler’s lair has a more modern and illustrious flair while Joker has a throne room where the Court Jester is king. Riddler shows his power by making his Arkhamites recite a riddle for him while Joker insists on being the main attraction of the show.
The main focus of Batman 28 is the showdown between evenly-matched Deathstroke and Deadshot, who war for five days straight and rake up a lot of casualties in the process. Janin gives some striking imagery as the two trade bullets across rooftops.
The Batman: Year One “I was a year away from kicking a tree” line, made me smile but calls into question where we are in the timeline exactly. And if he undersells his abilities this way, how does he end up taking them both assassins down? Out of grief/rage powers? While the devastation caused by this war is considerable I’m not feeling the weight of it, making it hard to empathize with Batman’s outburst of exhaustion on behalf of Gotham.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?