Batman Rebirth CoverBatman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham is written by the former CIA analyst Tom King and illustrated by David Finch. It collects Batman: Rebirth #1 and Batman #1-6.

The Story (aka from the Publisher)

The Caped Crusader has never been stopped. Not by the Joker. Not by Two-Face. Not even by the entire Justice League. But now, in the wake of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, Batman must face his most challenging foe ever–a hero who wants to save Gotham…from the Batman!

Rebirth

This Batman story is not much of an origin story like Superman or even Green Arrow’s Rebirth. Instead, we get a creative retelling of Batman’s origin as it relates to two new superheroes in town: Gotham and Gotham Girl.

These meta humans are more like Superman than Batman. Batman takes an interest in them, not as potential adversities, but as potential allies. Batman recognizes that perhaps Gotham City needs more than just the Dark Knight protecting it. He watches, and then criticizes, the sibling duo’s approach to fighting Solomon Grundy. Batman takes them under his wing and teaches them technique.

Gotham & Gotham Girl

What is surprising is that there isn’t a greater sense of urgency that Solomon Grundy is roaming around Gotham. Or that Psycho Pirate is too. In fact, there is a whole host of baddies roaming the pages of this graphic novel. One of which is Hugo Strange, appropriate for a Batman rebirth because many of the Dark Knight’s baddies are a result of Strange’s experiments. Yet, there is not enough of Strange in the story. He seems to be limited to the shadows.

Perhaps there is just not enough room. The story is cluttered with characters and side plots that just do not work in the limited space it has. There are a few random and unresolved additions. Bane seems to be lurking deep in the shadows and there is an acknowledgement of the potential rebirth of the Suicide Squad. The plot is cluttered to the point that a conclusion to the story is difficult to find.

Compassionate Knight

A significant plot lineĀ focuses on Batman’s compassion towards Gotham Girl. After her brother, Gotham, is turned by Psycho Pirate, Gotham Girl retreats into herself. Alone in the city she grew up in, Gotham Girl continues to use her superpowers for good, while talking to her absent brother. Her hair has been trimmed short, and she seems to be slowly going mad.

Batman, all too familiar with the pain of losing a loved one, does what he can to help her. He shares his own story about holding his mother’s hand as she died, reminding us that there is healing in the telling of stories. Batman, in a remarkable move, removes his cowl, revealing to Gotham Girl his true identity.

Behind the mask of bravery is a man filled with pain.

You can purchase your own copy by clicking on the image below:

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.