Batman and Flash have to deal with the fallout of not only dealing with an unhinged Gotham Girl wrecking Central City, all while also dealing with boiling tension that has been building up between the two of them.
Batman No. 65
Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Guillen March
Credit to DC and Cover Artist Chris Burnham
These Batman/Flash crossover events are becoming an annual staple within the DC Universe, setting up a big continuity fix and setting the tone for the rest of the year. In last year’s “The Button,” we were given inclinations of a wider universe that might exist, and how the Watchmen, particularly Doctor Manhattan, had something to do with the gap in the timeline.
This year in “The Price,” Joshua Williamson, Guillen March and to some extent Tom King, have made Heroes in Crisis part of the main continuity, and Batman No. 65 has really increased the importance of the themes and stories from that book. It also pulls it off better than its maxi-series counterpart.
Through the emergence of Gotham Girl and the death of Wally West hanging heavy over Bruce and Barry, we get to see how those characters are directly affected from, what they think to their failures as mentors and heroes. In Batman No. 65, we really see how Gotham Girl, also known by her civilian name Claire Clover, has affected Bruce in his work as Batman. He’s running late, he’s not looking at the details, and he is off his A-game. Obviously not the Batman we have grown up with.
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Although the action beats in this issue are well drawn and plotted out, what really works in Batman No. 65 is how well Williamson can work with the Batman/Flash dynamic and how they have to deal with not only the reemergence of a mentally unstable superhuman destroying Central City, but also with their own sense of failure, loss of loved ones and post traumatic stress disorder. And where it feels forced in Heroes in Crisis, it feels genuine in Batman No. 65.
Another interesting aspect of Batman No. 65 that Williamson explores is the seemingly mounting frustration the Justice League, specifically the Flash, is having with Batman due to his secrecy and his unwillingness to open up with the rest of the group, particularly in regards to the fall out of Heroes in Crisis. The pressure between the two heroes boils over in this issue, and it’s something that is prominently addressed, while trying to take down a psychotic superhuman. It’s a very interesting dynamic, one that makes this issue incredibly interesting to read and makes “The Price” a very worthwhile mini-event.
Credit to DC Comics and artist Guillem March
All of the characters of Batman No. 65 are incredibly relatable, even Gotham Girl. If you’ve been reading the entire run since the Rebirth re-branding, then you know what happened to Claire, and her brother Hank in the first Tom King run on Batman. “I Am Gotham,”was incredibly powerful and makes Claire a very sympathetic figure, especially (SPOILER WARNING) after she commits what she thinks is the ultimate sacrifice and “pays” the ultimate price.
If there was a sticking point to this issue and this mini-crossover, it’s that one would have to be reading Heroes in Crisis to pick up some of the finer details and plot points to fully grasp what is going on. For some, Heroes in Crisis hasn’t been the most relatable series, so that might be a deal breaker when trying to convince someone to jump in and read this issue.
Aside from that, Batman No. 65 covers so much emotional ground in only an issue, and Williamson and Guillen deserve major recognition for it. And by the way, Guillen March’s art in this is fantastic. The way he draws Gotham Girl’s eyes alone is worth the cover price. This issue is definitely worth the read and leaves off at a point that leaves readers excited for the continuation in Flash No. 65.
Part 3 of “The Price” has delivered on quite a few universal topics in a way that makes these superhuman characters seem very human. With one issue left, we still don’t know where this story-arc will end up.