There are so many titles and issues that float through Stately Spoiler Manor that getting through all of them in a single week seems overwhelming.Â Fortunately there are some issues that rise to the top as must reads (Blackest Night, RASL, and Unthinkable to name a few).Â This is the case with the second installment of Batman: Streets of Gotham where the streets have been set a flame by Firefly.
The thing I like about Paul Diniâ€™s writing is heâ€™s able to set up moments in past issues that end up playing out later in the series without shouting out “Hey! Lookie What I Done Did Here Everybody!”Â It’s really subtle in that you see it happen, and when it comes back around it seems natural and not forced or shoehorned in.Â The creepy teenage prostitution moment in the last issue, actually came back around in issue #2 as the drug Firefly injected into her hadnâ€™t had a chance to kick in, which would have set her ablaze like all the other Gothamites currently dying horrible deaths.Â This gives Batman and Robin a chance to track down Fireflyâ€™s hideout.
That being said, there are some other times when this kind of set up doesnâ€™t work. When Dick and Damian encounter a person who is trying to stop a bunch of looters with his unique stylings, I was at a complete loss as to who it was.Â HIs trench coat and hat make me think of Harvey Bullock, but I would think Dick would know who that is, so the mystery man remains a mystery to me, and probably many other readers.
Thereâ€™s also a really nice side plot that closes the issue that features Tommy Elliot turning the tables on Catwoman and the Bat-clan.Â After his plastic surgery to make himself look like Bruce Wayne, he jetted from local to local slowly stealing money from the Wayne foundation to rebuild his fortune.Â When Catwoman caught up with him and gave him a thrashing for cutting out her heart, she took all of his accumulated wealth and gave it away.Â During the confusion of people going up in flames, Elliot uses the moment to escape his holding cell in a really nice move, and then goes public, after all the chaos ends, by announcing he, as Bruce Wayne, will donate a billion dollars to Gotham City each and every month.Â What makes this revenge even more delicious is Dick, Damian, and Alfred are standing beside him, helpless to do anything but smile for the flashing cameras.Â I donâ€™t know how many billions of dollars Bruce Wayne has, but that is certainly going to set back the Wayne Foundation if Elliot isnâ€™t brought under control and soon.
This announcement gives readers a chance to see reaction shots from fellow Justice Leaguers, and Raâ€™s al Ghul.Â This is the second time Raâ€™s has made an appearance in the Batman books in the last couple of weeks.Â These appearances come in the form or reaction shots, or off panel discussions, but his continued presence in these titles should be a signal to all of those wondering how Bruce might be able to make his return to the regular timeline.Â It might also be a clue that most of the time Raâ€™s face is partially obscured.
Elliotâ€™s sudden reappearance as Bruce Wayne, should be a signal to more than just a few of those closest to Batman that something strange is afoot, as many saw Batman â€œdieâ€ during the Final Crisis.Â It also makes one wonder why Black Hand dug up Bruce Wayneâ€™s skull in the Prelude to Blackest Night without knowing he was Batman, but I think that mind trip is better left to another time after Iâ€™ve had a couple dozen Red Bulls with Pixy Stix chasers.
Iâ€™ve skipped over the big action moment in the issue, but it is one that works best when you sit down and read it yourself.Â When introduced in this series, Firefly was portrayed as a psychopathic murderer, and continues his line of mad scientist bravado in this issue, going so far as to almost killing Black Mask.Â But once Batman gives chase, and begins to take him down, he reverts to the frightened ninny weâ€™ve all seen before. It seems to be a trope that most villains fall into, and was a slight disappointment here.
Once again Dustin Nguyen brings art that knocks me on my butt and gets me asking for more.Â His watercolor-esque styling on the cover is absent on the inside pages, but I really like what heâ€™s able to do with simple lines, with inks and colors by Derek Fridolfs and John Kalisz.Â Nguyenâ€™s take on Black Mask is truly frightening, and has to be one of my favorite interpretations of the character.Â The young prostitute readers were introduced to last time doesnâ€™t appear as young in her cameo appearance, which lessons some of the creepy factor that found its way into the first chapter.
This issue was filled with a lot of sudden surprises that I expected to play out at some point, but didnâ€™t expect them to occur this soon – especially the Tommy Elliot escape moment, which I figured would happen in Batman or Detective Comics.Â Still Batman: Streets of Gotham #2 brings action, mystery, and a glimpse of what else is going on in the Bat-verse and serves it up in an issue that earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.