BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #15
Author: John Bierly
Monday, March 31, 2008
FROM DC COMICS: "Batman ups his war with the returned Wrath…but apparently Nightwing may have more to do with inspiring this new threat to Metropolis!"
After a solid start and a slightly shakier second issue, part three of the new BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL arc starts to get a little too coincidental in issue #15.
We start with Jim Gordon in his attic, miserable over the mysterious secret from his past that was a driving force in the previous issue.
Batman appears in the attic and Gordon's just about to tell him everything when ... the Wrath just happens to come through the window at that very moment.
Batman fights the Wrath again.
The cops open fire on both Batman and the Wrath.
Nightwing disarms the cops.
The Wrath blows up Gordon's house.
Batman chases him to a rooftop where he's got a huge machine gun set up.
Lots of action, but so far not as awesome as the previous issues.
The new Wrath begins to tell Batman the true story of how Gordon shot and killed the parents of the original Wrath. But while his words tell one story, Rags Morales's gorgeous art (with lovely, moody color work) tells a different tale. The Wrath's father was a dirty cop who brought his wife and kid along for a heist; Gordon's shooting of the dirty cop was accidental and his shooting of the wife was self defense. The little boy was taken away and grew up with rage and hatred to become the original Wrath, swearing revenge on Jim Gordon.
Last issue, writer Tony Bedard brought into continuity that a young Jim Gordon comforted little Bruce Wayne at the police station on the night of his parents' murder.
I loved it in BATMAN BEGINS and I really think it fit perfectly with director Christopher Nolan's vision of Gotham City.
But I'm not sure how well it works in the comics, especially after this issue.
My first thought when I read last issue was, "Yeah, but what does this do to the already established continuity from BATMAN: YEAR ONE that Gordon came to Gotham from Chicago at the same time Bruce Wayne was returning home from training abroad?"
Bedard answers that in this issue. Apparently, after Gordon shot the dirty cop, he was transferred to Chicago to keep the whole matter quiet.
I'm fine with Gordon being the cop who comforted Bruce, and I'm fine with him coming from Chicago, but Bedard's trying to have it both ways and it just doesn't work for me.
It just creates too many coincidences.
For example, it wasn't a coincidence in BATMAN BEGINS. Gordon comforted young Bruce, and when Bruce became Batman he sought out someone he already knew was a good cop. Of course it was going to be Gordon. Who else would it be?
But now, we have to buy too many coincidences. It's a coincidence that Gordon just happened to comfort Bruce on the same night that Gordon created the original Wrath on the same night that Joe Chill created Batman. It's a coincidence that, many years later, Gordon is coming back to Gotham from Chicago at the exact same time that Bruce Wayne is getting back to Gotham to begin his war on crime. It was a nice contrast to see their parallel stories in BATMAN: YEAR ONE, but this new version of events is just crammed far too heavily with too many coincidences. The coincidences take away how special the events were when they were simpler.
In other words, either Gordon/Batman origin works fine on its own. But they create too many problems crammed together.
I realize that Bedard is trying to do right by continuity, but it's just too much. It feels like something from a STAR WARS prequel, like when Chewbacca just happens to be the Wookiee who helps Yoda. Ridiculous.
I do like the explanation that the new Wrath is basically the original Wrath's Robin, because the original Wrath tried to do everything that Batman did. And it's also cool that the new Wrath has basically graduated to Nightwing status and Batman's own Nightwing is part of this story.
And so the stage is set for the finale. I loved this arc when it began. Now I'm a little cautious, but I'm still looking forward to seeing how it all wraps up.
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