‘Batman Rebirth No. 1’: We Are Gotham


ALERT! The following contains lots and lots of SPOILERS!

Quite simply, Batman is a badass. He’s not a super person in the typical definition, but he’s certainly not afraid to stop a catastrophic plane crash, even if it means certain death.

But, of course, we knew that the Bat himself would not meet his demise in only the first issue of “Batman Rebirth.” But what’s a good comic-book issue without a little bit of tease?

Anyway, I think issue No. 1 of the “Batman Rebirth” storyline continues nicely off of one of our more speculative worth-notings from our recap/review of the one-shot. In the one-shot, we posited that Bruce Wayne’s death is subtly teased at. With the first issue of “Batman Rebirth,” Wayne nearly became a burnt bat were it not for the heroics of Gotham and Gotham Girl.

So, yeah… That’s a thing.

The Worth-Noting

So, this time around there’s an airplane crash being prevented by super people, the hero Gotham has known for decades almost died, and we have no idea who shot down that plane (or do we?).

No. 1: We are Gotham

If it wasn’t for the spontaneity of two super people, Batman and over 100 people on board that commercial airliner would have bitten dust (or at least a mouthful of water).

But who are Gotham and Gotham Girl?

In case you don’t remember, we first met these two in the overarching DC Universe Rebirth one-shot in a quick introductory panel.

Gotham, Gotham Girl 1.jpg

I like the simplicity of their names, as it almost feels like an homage to the classic, original superhero. Plus, their names make for easy symbolism.

But, anyway, between then and now, we only see them three times: in that panel, on the cover of Batman Rebirth No. 1 and at the end of said issue. Their infrequent appearances to date makes us question who they are. So far, there’s not a whole lot of information on them regarding their abilities and background.

Here’s what we definitely know so far:

  • Both of them can fly
  • Both of them have super strength

It’s not a whole lot, but it’s a start. Regarding their flight, their speed hasn’t been tested. That applies to their strength, as well. It’s not clear whether they both slowed the descent of the crash-landing plane together because they’re not individually strong enough to do it alone, or if it was for assurance’s sake.

Continuing, it’s apparent the two know who Batman is—whether they know he is Wayne or not is not yer clear. But if you name yourself after the city he protects, it’d be a surprise if they didn’t know who Batman was. Anyway, it’s clear, though, by Gotham’s introduction that the pair has a high level of respect for Batman.

Gotham, Gotham Girl 2.jpg

But what’s concerning about Gotham’s introduction is his closing line.

This is our city. We are here to save it.

While the two may appear benevolent at first, I can’t help but sense a little bit of Ultron in them (yes, that’s a Marvel Comics reference; I’m sorry, DC fans). Their idea of “saving” the city might become confrontational with Batman’s idea of it. In future issues, we could see Gotham (in every sense) turn on the Bat.

Regardless of where the storyline continues, the arrival of two new super people can’t be good for the city of Gotham. Perhaps something devastating is looming around the corner.

No. 2: “Retirement” avoided

So, on a brighter note, let’s talk about the two parties working together. Gotham’s and Gotham Girl’s arrival could not have been more timely. But, I mean, couldn’t they have showed up maybe a couple minutes earlier? At least it would have spared us from Wayne’s emotional (perhaps tear-jerking) interaction with the family butler, Alfred Pennyworth.

This perpetual teasing is perhaps preparing readers for Wayne’s final retirement. Before, we were just talking about avocados and old sidekicks. In No. 2, Batman would have died if it weren’t for two never-before-seen superheroes.

What’s awesome, though, is that throughout all of this, Batman has no hesitation in sacrificing himself while saving the people of his city. This whole-page panel is probably my favorite of the issue, as it best epitomizes the Batman in all his relentless, fearless glory.

Batman 1.jpg

But you have to admit that the reintroduction of Duke Thomas (NOT as Robin) in the one-shot, the arrival of two super people with powers akin to Superman himself, and the events of No. 1 are perhaps very telling of the impending death of Batman.

No. 3: Who’s that villain?

Until he’s dead, though, Batman’s still gotta fight crime. The problem, in this case, is that the whole issue is taken up by the prevention of a crime. We’re briefly shown the source—or what’s made to look like the source, at least—of the surface-to-air missile that shot down the Gotham Air airliner.

Batman 2.jpg

The corpse lying dead next to a rocket launcher is tagged with the insignia of the Kobra organization, a terrorist group which was started by a villain of the same name. But in the foreground, there’s a figure in the shadows, who I’m guessing didn’t find the Kobra soldier as we see him now.

There’s something eerie about what the shadowed figure said, though.

Observe the clock, Batman.

Oddly enough, the overarching DC Universe Rebirth one-shot ended with the doomsday clock seen very prominently throughout “Watchmen.” Batman was also the first to discover tangible evidence of the Watchmen characters when he picked the Comedian’s iconic smiley-face button from the Batcave wall. We’ll see if we’re even talking about the same clock soon enough.

The End

New superheroes, a mysterious (new?) villain and near-death heroics by Batman himself all compiled into one issue. What more could you ask for? Answers! That’s what we want!

Our recap/review on “Batman Rebirth” No. 2 will be out next week. In the mean time, tell us what you think is going on. Is Batman’s actual death a real possibility? Who is that shadowed figure? Why shoot down an airplane? How did Gotham and Gotham Girl get their powers?