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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.  Fortunately there are some issues that rise to the top as must reads (Blackest Night, RASL, and Unthinkable to name a few).  This is the case with the second installment of Batman: Streets of Gotham where the streets have been set a flame by Firefly.

Batman_Streets_of_Gotham_2.jpgThe thing I like about Paul Dini’s writing is he’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!”  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.  The creepy teenage prostitution moment in the last issue, actually came back around in issue #2 as the drug Firefly injected into her hadn’t had a chance to kick in, which would have set her ablaze like all the other Gothamites currently dying horrible deaths.  This gives Batman and Robin a chance to track down Firefly’s hideout.

That being said, there are some other times when this kind of set up doesn’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.  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.

There’s also a really nice side plot that closes the issue that features Tommy Elliot turning the tables on Catwoman and the Bat-clan.  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.  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.  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.  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.  I don’t know how many billions of dollars Bruce Wayne has, but that is certainly going to set back the Wayne Foundation if Elliot isn’t brought under control and soon.

This announcement gives readers a chance to see reaction shots from fellow Justice Leaguers, and Ra’s al Ghul.  This is the second time Ra’s has made an appearance in the Batman books in the last couple of weeks.  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.  It might also be a clue that most of the time Ra’s face is partially obscured.

Elliot’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 “die” during the Final Crisis.  It also makes one wonder why Black Hand dug up Bruce Wayne’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 I’ve had a couple dozen Red Bulls with Pixy Stix chasers.

I’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.  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.  But once Batman gives chase, and begins to take him down, he reverts to the frightened ninny we’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.  His watercolor-esque styling on the cover is absent on the inside pages, but I really like what he’s able to do with simple lines, with inks and colors by Derek Fridolfs and John Kalisz.  Nguyen’s take on Black Mask is truly frightening, and has to be one of my favorite interpretations of the character.  The young prostitute readers were introduced to last time doesn’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 didn’t expect them to occur this soon – especially the Tommy Elliot escape moment, which I figured would happen in Batman or Detective Comics.  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.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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7 Comments

  1. Ricco
    July 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm — Reply

    The trench coat dude is the guy that saved the teenage prostitute in the first one, I think it was so creepy a moment you might have forgoten the “hero” who saved her.

    He’s called Abuse, or at least that’s what his “calling card” says, love the brass knuckles by the way even if they’re useless in a real fight.

  2. July 19, 2009 at 9:20 pm — Reply

    Ricco: That’s right. I did forget where he was before. Thanks!

  3. July 19, 2009 at 9:25 pm — Reply

    YES!! The best comic to come out this week!

  4. Brian
    July 20, 2009 at 7:30 am — Reply

    I really enjoyed the comic but would have thought someone would have mentioned the Manhunter back up story. I loved seeing the return of Dr. Arkham and a tease to the up coming Arkham mini series since Battle for the Cowl.

  5. July 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm — Reply

    Wow, absolutlely no mention whatsoever regarding the OTHER story in the book. Weird.

  6. Ricco
    July 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm — Reply

    I don’t know about you guys, but I completely lost interest when they made Jane Doe a skindancer instead of a master of desguise. I mean how is it that we see her with flesh when Black Mask break her out? Are we supposed to believe the people at Arkham didn’t notice she was wearing someone’s skin? It’s not like they could have mistaken her for someone else, she had a freaking NAME TAG!

  7. July 20, 2009 at 9:30 pm — Reply

    Stephen doesn’t read anything that doesn’t feature Batman. :)

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