It’s a light week in the Bat-Universe, folks, with only two books on the racks this Wednesday. Having said that, they both look good.
Batman: Streets of Gotham #16
According to DC, the regular creative teams and format return this month (after last month’s entire issue was devoted to what is technically the back-up story) with Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen on the feature and Ivan Brandon and Ramon Bachs on back-up…however, that seems misinformed, given the discrepancies between solicitation copy and actual issues over the past two months. The Bat-computer says the smart money is on an issue devoted to Paul Dini’s story alone.
The main story features a sequel to 2008’s “Heart of Hush” storyline, which ran as a counterpoint to Grant Morrison’s “Batman R.I.P.” Batman’s greatest villains have always served as a dark mirror to the Dark Knight and “Heart of Hush” was no exception…as Tommy Elliot transformed himself in a literal one, undergoing plastic surgery to become the spitting image of the now-“missing” Bruce Wayne (who, unbeknownst to the DC Universe at large, had died in Final Crisis).
#16 picks up where the prelude to “House of Hush” left off in issue #14: as Tommy stands in for Bruce Wayne (albeit under the watchful eyes of Batman’s allies in The Network, who keep him under literally constant in-person surveillance), he begins to utilize his standing at the Wayne Foundation to orchestrate a work-release program of sorts for inmates at Arkham Asylum, an action that he cloaks in the guise of philanthropy from Batman’s playboy alter-ego. However, the prelude ended with the revelation of Elliot’s first candidate for release: the skin-wearing, identity-shifting serial killer, Jane Doe. This month’s issue promises to continue the intrigue, as well as delve into the sordid back-story (much of which has been teased, but never revealed, over the years since Hush’s debut) between the Elliot and Wayne families.
Ultimately, Elliot’s goal is revenge against those who he feels have wronged him: Bruce Wayne, his adopted family, and Selina Kyle (who robbed him blind). It’s difficult to say exactly what role Jane Doe plays in this scheme…but it’s not hard to speculate, given her abilities.
The eclectic Superman/Batman takes a break from team-ups between the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight to tell a “done-in-one” story this month.
Writer Judd Winick hops on board with art from Marco Rudy to tell a story that has illogically gone untold until now: namely, how Superman reacted to the first-hand knowledge that his long-time partner-in-crimefighting (and closest ally) Batman was dead.
The story looks to deliver poignancy, despite the fact that it’s now common knowledge amongst all and sundry that Batman is, in fact, not dead…and that’s assuming anyone actually believed that he was in the first place. Despite that hiccup, it must be said that Superman stories that are based on something other than the Man of Tomorrow punching the hell out of something are frequently something of the most memorable (witness Superman For All Seasons or Alan Moore’s “For the Man Who Has Everything”), so hopefully Winick will bring his A-game and deliver a genuinely emotional payoff to what looks to be a promising high concept for an issue.