*sigh* I get really annoyed at Batman sometimes, and the events of this first trade in the War Games storyline don’t help matters.
Picking up where War Drums left off, this trade sees the start of an all-out war between the gangs in Gotham.
A bulk of the comic focuses on providing a slow build, with individual scenes of our heroes trying to fight back in a city that’s been thrown into chaos. Along with Batman, Nightwing, and Batwoman, we have Spoiler, Catwoman, Tarantula, Orpheus, and Onyx battling street thugs and trying to keep everyone safe. All the while we have Tim Drake, formerly Robin, sitting on the sidelines, trying to adjust to his normal civilian life.
It’s a slowly unfolding storyline, reminding me of other such massive undertakings as Nightfall and No Man’s Land. The idea seems to be to create a real sense of what it’s like to live in Gotham during this time, when every part of the city is being plagued by uncontrollable violence. In that regard, the comic at least succeeds.
That being said, I got very annoyed with Batman after we finally learn why all this gang violence is taking place: Spoiler, in an effort to impress Batman, steals one of his contingency plans in hopes of uniting the crime families under Batman’s control.
Dammit Batman, why do you have to have contingency plans in place for literally everything?? They never end well. Did the events of JLA: Tower of Babel teach you nothing???
At the very least, he needs better computer security to make it a little harder for people to access said plans.
From this point forward, I pretty much blamed Batman for everything that was going on. Not insomuch as the crime itself is his fault, but I certainly blame him more than Stephanie who, after all, is still just a kid and was under his guidance. Batman has a history of not trusting people, and by letting people into his world without divulging all of his secrets, he’s setting them up to be seriously injured, or even killed.
Of course, Batman doesn’t find out any of this information (at least not yet). He’s too focused on trying to rescue Tim, who’s school is being held hostage by multiple gangs. Completely forgoing his usual covert tactics, Batman secures the school and walks right out the front door with a gun-shot victim in his arms.
Dramatic, yes, but not exactly characteristic of the Batman. Why does he carry the girl out? Why not just have the school nurse wheel her out on the stretcher that she was already on? It made for a compelling image, and certainly sets up the next part of the story, but it felt a little too forced. Given how many years Batman has operated in the shadows, it seems unlikely he’d be drawn out now. This move felt a little too convenient, and seems to merely be a ploy to set up another “citizens versus vigilantes” debate.
Don’t get me wrong, the story is good so far, and I’m intrigued to see how it all plays out. There are plenty of players on the scene, with plenty more who have made only the briefest appearances or haven’t been heard from at all (surely the Joker will show his face at some point?). Stories like this are a heavy undertaking, forcing the writers to address what a vast number of characters are doing throughout the city at a given time, but so far this story doesn’t disappoint. It may be a slow build, but I’m holding out hope that it’s building to something worth-while. With so many players involved, that almost seems inevitable.