[World of Bats] I Am Gotham

Hello again to another installment of World of Bats, the Batman Book Club!

This week we’re going to read “I Am Gotham,” the first six-issue arc of the (in)famous Tom King run of Batman, with art by David Finch and Ivan Reis!

Here are the links for this week’s reading:

Summary

Batman #1
Batman #2
Batman #3
Batman #4
Batman #5
Batman #6

We’ll be reading from today to Friday, November 20th, but if you fall behind or are reading this in the future, please feel free to come in!

So let us know what you think of the issues! I know King can be a bit…divisive nowadays, but I hope this can create a fun, lively discussion of the work. :slight_smile:

For questions or concerns, contact @BatJamags or @Jay_Kay.

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And if you’re looking for more Bat-related goodness coming out this week, check out some of the other awesome groups here!

Harley’s Crew is going over issues 4-6 of Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red, as well as the first three issues of Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life & Death!

Throughout the month of November, the Dick Grayson Fan Club is celebrating the return of Dick Grayson in the current book (Ding dong the Ric is dead!) with Nightwing: Year One!

Renegade Robins is currently wrapping up the last arc of Scott Lobdell’s Red Hood & The Outlaws in the New 52 era, as well as an interesting BYOB of the Dynamite crossover The Shadow/Batman! Also, we’re still in the midst of our crossover as we go through the weekly series Batman Eternal!

If I miss something, please let me know! :slight_smile:

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I’d forgotten how much I love the plane sequence from the first issue. Good stuff.

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It’s definitely one of the more unique action sequences ever done with Batman, with an extra bonus of a cool, human moment for Batman too. :slight_smile:

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Another highlight is Alfred in the cape and cowl. It’s a very 60s Batman moment.

Oh, and I absolutely adored the mean-spirited riff on a certain moment from All-Star Superman.

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Just started rereading the beginning of King’s run for some reason. This beginning arc for me is an A+. Love the timeless design of Gotham and Gotham Girl’s costumes. They really could be from anytime from 1940 until today.
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That whole action sequence is big screen feeling stuff

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It’s been awhile since I’ve read this arc. I remember enjoying it, but I don’t recall much about the story. I’m halfway through and I think it’s pretty good. Batman’s Matches Malone persona making an appearance was fun.

The dialog might be the part I like best. Alfred is so wonderfully dry and it cracks me up. This exchange between Gotham and Gotham Girl made me smile.

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That is nice dialogue. Of course on second read everything is colored by my knowledge of what’s coming which makes it a different story but still very good

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Oh that was GREAT. Alfred is extremely loyal to his charge, but he doesn’t let that stop him from unleashing his inner sass.

The bit with Alfred talking about Bruce wanting a katana for Christmas was also on point.

I agree, both designs are great – and shows that you can have an awesome, varied colored superhero costume without the use of trunks. :slight_smile:

Yeah, reading this with the foreknowledge of everything that happens in this series made me both think “wow, this is a cool hint of things to come” and other times think “wow, that NEVER came to be.”

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This time reading through the arc, my 2nd read through, I was really struck by the parallels between Batman and the Gothams. The whole mugging in the back alley thing was obvious, there’s also the using money as a source of power to fight crime, fighting crime to work through the pain of losing someone, and, the one that really hit me over the head this time, choosing to save the city over their own lives.

Batman with the airplane in the beginning and later it being revealed that the Gothams trade their very life-force for superpowers. That sort of narrative symmetry is immensely satisfying and, while a cool action sequence is great on its own, it’s nice to see one have that sort of narrative weight.

It was fun reading it again and I definitely feel like I got more from it this time. Also Kite Man makes a cameo.

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Yeah, the Gothams make for a very interesting parallel in that here are these super-powered people who were inspired by him, but are capable of so much more.

(An aside – part of me wishes that they could have stuck around a little longer pre-Strange and Psycho Pirates’ mindblasts, if not just to see how the rest of the Bat-Family reacted to them.)

What I think is a crucial difference is how they lost their parents. Bruce losing his as a child, powerless to do anything about it, I think gave him time to grieve in his own way and figure out the best way to fight the causes of what killed him. But when the Gothams lose theirs as young adults, with the power that they had…their grief and fear turned Gotham into something monstrous, and laid deep roots for Gotham Girl’s story later as the story goes.

I think you mean “the beginning of a legend.” :laughing:

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I completely agree that it would have been nice to play the long game with the Gothams. Let the reader really settle in with them for a couple of years. How do “Super Bat Siblings” impact Gotham? Give them some victories and some low points. Then when we’ve completely accepted them as part of a new Gotham, lower the boom.

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Yeah, it would have been cool, but I think what we got was still pretty cool too.

Also finished re-reading #6 today at lunch, and I was struck by how intimate and personal the story was. From what I remember, Tom King has talked about in the past how this issue was inspired by when his mother passed shortly before doing this issue, and how he was talking to himself, but in his mind talking to his mom just to have some way of hearing her voice again, even if it’s in the head.

It felt like a genuine human moment, and seeing Bruce come around and reach her by sharing his own grief and loss was very special. It’s right up there with, say, him helping Ace in Justice League Unlimited.

Also something interesting was the smaller villains used. Everyone talks about this introduction to Kite Man, but really all the villains here are used very well. What struck me was how when researching these characters…all the stuff that characters like Stingaree going after his brothers thinking they were Batman, were doing were from their original origin stories, just done in a more modern way. It reminded me of something that Douglas Adams reportedly said when he was writing and editing for Doctor Who back in the 80s, how the best Who villains are characters/species that on the surface seem absolutely silly and ridiculous until you see that they actually are capable of doing what they say, and then they become terrifying.

Also also – WHY IS IVAN REIS SO GOOD, MAN? He can do the big action, the cool comic layouts, and he can sell the hell out of these emotional moments.

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This was real emotional roller coaster, for sure. Thank goodness for Alfred and Duke’s side snark.

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I desperately want to fix the text on this. :woman_shrugging:
I guess the internet is just going to internet.

On the gif? Eh, it still gets the point across.

I agree, total roller-coaster! Alfred’s snark is truly a thing to behold and an ideal to strive for.

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