The effects of Heroes In Crisis are felt in Gotham, and the two greatest detectives in the DCU put their heads together. Your Major Spoilers review of Batman #64 awaits!
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Guillem March
Colorist: Tomeo Morey
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Jamie S. Rich & Paul Kaminski
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 6, 2019
Previously in Batman: As chief architect of the Sanctuary program that cost so much for so many, especially Wally West, Batman will be held accountable… by the Flash! A cold case from the Justice League’s past has mysteriously re-opened, and Batman and the Flash-the only two heroes who stand a chance of cracking the case-are at each other’s throats! Our heroes must combat a demon from the past while burying their own inner demons in the process… and neither the World’s Greatest Detective nor the Fastest Man Alive will ever be the same again! But who is really pulling the strings here? And how does Gotham Girl fit into all this?
A BATMAN WRACKED WITH GUILT
The first page of this issue features Batman about to crack the chest of the dead Flash, Wally West (while still in his costume, I might add, which seems like bad forensics work) before jumping back to the Justice League’s battle with a group of Amazos on Oolong Island. Batman easily disposes of his duplicate, which has no super-powers, but is nearly taken down by Flash’s doppelganger. Terrifyingly, Batman seems to be hallucinating the heroes murdered at Sanctuary, and flees the scene as soon as their battle is over. He arrives in Central City just in time to deal with an attack on the Flash museum. The Flash arrives seconds later, but the mysterious attacker gets away clean. When Batman tries to apologize to Flash, Mister Allen has had enough and orders his old friend to shut up. Declaring himself too exhausted to deal with more lies, The Flash orders Batman to tell him the truth, leading the Dark Knight to admit that he knew this attack was coming and that he suspects that the assailant was none other than Gotham Girl herself. As the issue closes, we find that not only is he right about that, she has somehow exhumed the body of her dead brother, Gotham, and seems to be trying to bring him back.
*WHY* DOES BATMAN HAVE THE BODY OF WALLY WEST?
The biggest questions raised in this issue don’t really have any answers, thanks to the patchwork nature of the DC Universe post-Rebirth, including a flashback to a case where Robin and Kid Flash laughed and had a great time, while their mentors hung out together. Batman’s loss of control is a compelling story point, but with the lack of buildup, it just feels like it’s coming out of left field. (The fact that this issue comes literally in the MIDDLE of an ongoing Batman story that the editor assures us will continue in issue #66 doesn’t help that expectation.) There are a couple of really powerful moments in this issue, including Batman’s hallucination of Superman becoming Commander Steel and Flash’s dressing-down of Batman for being a jerk, though. The art is also interesting, reminding me a bit of Adam Kubert, but March’s broad-shouldered, muscular Flash feels wrong, somehow. The facials expressions of Kid Flash and Robin during the (you should excuse the expression) flashback sequences are also very expressive and well-done, and Gotham Girl’s madness is clear in her face and body language during her brief appearance.
BOTTOM LINE: A NICE LOOK AT BATMAN’S PSYCHE
The overall effect of this issue is a positive one for me, focusing on the human weaknesses of Batman and allowing The Flash to call him out on his nonsense. More than just the schedenfreude, though, this issue actually delves into the mind and emotions of the heroes affected by the horror of ‘Heroes In Crisis’ and does so in a way that is 100% more successful than the mother title, leaving Batman #64 with a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. Here’s hoping that this is how thing continue and that the mess that is ‘HiC’ improves as well.
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Batman is pushed to his breaking point and The Flash has had enough of his crap. It's at least more successful in addressing trauma than the series it's crossing over with.