Off The Shelf Reviews: Batman: Gates of Gotham #1

A new Batman mini-series debuted this week, but is it worth the $2.99?  Read on to find out....

I saw the solicitations for this book a few months back, advertised as a story where Batman was going to have to delve into the history behind Gotham City to help solve a case in the present.  I decided to pass on the book, as I got enough of the "History of Gotham City" thing with The Return of Bruce Wayne.  However, when I was at the store this week and saw the book for myself, I noticed that it was written by Scott Snyder.  Given how much I've enjoyed his work on Detective Comics, I immediately picked up this book.

Just as advertised, this is a story where someone is going around blowing up bridges in Gotham City -- bridges that happen to be named after some of the most influential families in Gotham's history.  In fact, the book starts with one of Bruce Wayne's ancestors talking with some people about building the bridges and "Gotham's future".  The storyline is very intriguing, its a classic "Batman as the detective" storyline, where he has to connect various clues to try and stop an unknown villain.  Its the same great detective writing which makes his Detective Comics stories so great.

That brings me to one of my big complaints with this issue: why?  This is an in-continuity story, not an alternate universe or a one-off story set in a completely different environment.  Did we really need ANOTHER Batman book to buy?  Personally, I would have preferred it if they had just put this story in one of the several Batman titles already out there.  There are a couple of on-going Batman titles that have had nothing but mediocre stories as of recently, why couldn't we have put this story in those books?

Next, I do not like the artwork in this book.  Kyle Higgins artwork is just way too complicated for this book.  There's just so much going on in each panel it drives me crazy because I have so much trouble figuring out what exactly is going on.  I have to stare at each panel for a while before I realize what I'm seeing--and half the time I have to use the dialogue and narration in order to do so.  If you have to tell me the story instead of showing me the story, that tells me maybe the artwork needs some work.

CONCLUSION: Wait.  This is still the first issue, so I don't know yet if this is going to be a "must-read" Batman book.  We'll have to see with the next few books if my opinions change.

What did you guys think?  Let me know in the comments below if you agree with me, or if I'm just crazy.