The Wednesday Run – May 18, 2011

Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!

Batman: Gates of Gotham #1
Written by: Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins
Illustrated by: Trevor McCarthy
Published by: DC Comics

There’s only one comic of importance to pick up on your Wednesday Run this week.

Oh sure, there’s lots out there on the “new arrivals” shelf, but believe me: only one of those comics is worthy of your undivided attention.

For the past few years, the character of Batman has undergone a reimagining within the confines of the natural DC Universe unlike any he has had before. For such an enduring character, with a legacy spanning over seventy-two years (or 877 issues in his original series), that’s both a bold makeover and a bold statement. But it’s true. Yes, comic book characters indeed exist within a revisionist loop that constantly sees them reinvented at the hands of their interchangeable writers and artists, but the changes that have beset Batman recently are unprecedented.

The powers-that-be at DC Comics have, within months, challenged our understanding of Batman’s origins, introduced new enemies, reinvigorated old ones, given him a son, killed him, replaced him, altered his family dynamic, sent him spiralling through time, allowed him to claw his way back to the twenty-first century, revealed his identity, incorporated the “idea” of Batman as a global franchise and now, given all this sprawling story, the creative forces behind the seminal character seek to reinvent and, at the same time, establish the history of his city. And that’s where Batman: Gates of Gotham comes into focus.

Whew. Just saying all that exerts the muscles and causes some sweat on the brow.

Batman: Gates of Gotham is a five-issue mini series co-written by Scott Snyder, the ongoing writer of Detective Comics. If you’re not reading that series right now, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s arguably the best monthly comic currently being published. Gates of Gotham promises to unravel a mystery that is as old as the city itself, introducing us (and, in some cases, re-introducing us) to the notable families that make up Gotham City including the Wayne family. The series will set the stage for Batman storylines in 2011 and beyond – with rumours of DC Comics renumbering all of their long-standing series back to “1” in September. Gates of Gotham, by the way, ends in late August, making it, possibly, the first clue that lends credence to this rumour.

I plan to be part of this potential inciting force, something that is important to the breaking of an established status quo. Remember: Bruce Wayne has spent the better part of a year travelling through time. Now, finally back in 2011, what does he know about the history of Gotham and the criminal machinations that have worked within its shadows these past few hundred years? Here is a series that weaves loose plot threads from the past few years of comic publications into a fabulous tapestry of mystery, excitement, villainy, heroism and discovery. Snyder the storyteller is running on all cylinders and I expect his Gates of Gotham to be nothing short of remarkable.

Make the run to your local comic shop this week. Exercising those legs of yours will make your comic book inspired imagination very, very happy indeed.

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