With Bruce Wayne banished to only two titles that couldn't come out on time if their creative teams' lives depended on it, at least we briefly get to see Bruce under the cowl in the final two issues of Streets of Gotham
. He's only in the first five pages of #20, but it's hot, hot, hot stuff with Catwoman that'll really get your blood pumping for seeing Selina on the big screen next year. (These two are so meant for each other. Seriously.)
The issue is typical of what writer Paul Dini's been doing in "House of Hush," weaving threads of Tommy Elliot's schemes in the present with flashbacks fleshing out his "Dini-verse." The only difference now is that Bruce is back and able to be part of the story. And while the past in this issue is filled with super-powered saviors from another time, the real hero is Dr. Thomas Wayne, who stands up against the city's wretched hive of scum and villainy with pretty, gutsy Martha Kane by his side. I love seeing such awesome glimpses of the people who made Bruce Wayne.
As the tale winds back toward the present, Dini takes us on a tour of Gotham's history of mobsters and freaks before giving us a glimpse -- drawn with giddy, awe-inspiring glee by Dustin Nguyen in a recreation of his first appearance -- of the reason all these bad guys are kept in line. Oh, yeah. It's the Batman.
DC's decision to chop out two pages of story for the new $2.99 price point really makes the endings feel abrupt, which is my only minor complaint about this one. There's only one issue of this book left with a lot to wrap up, but it's Dini, so we'll be in good hands. I'll just really miss his voice in the Bat-verse, and the unique, handsome lines of Nguyen's art. I still can't figure out why DC seems so intent on sidelining their billion-dollar character when guys like Dini and Nguyen are still full of awesome stories about him, but alas. We've got one more month to savor it while it lasts. - John Bierly