It’s early days in Gotham City, Year One, Issue two. Private Investigator Slam Bradley is himself getting “slammed” around by the cops, as they look into the Wayne kidnapping. What does he know? It’s bruising and punching, as Tom King’s story writhes around, progressively righting itself, then toppling over, turning purple.
Okay, there is a kidnapping. PUNCH. And Bradley is the middleman between the kidnappers’ PUNCH and the Wayne family. PUNCH.
It’s bare, it’s disorienting, it’s tightly written in a semi-confusing way. As Slam Bradley tries to find the truth and some sort of closure, the terse dialogue and the heavily shadowed and silhouetted artwork by Phil Hester (inks by Eric Gapstur, colours by Jordie Bellaire, letters by Clayton Cowles) keeps us from seeing the full picture.
The artwork and writing combine to produce a claustrophobic tale of intrigue, a whodunit from the Golden Age, with hints of brilliance among the tense words and actions. We celebrate the occasional splash page, the momentary revelations, the feeling that we are involved in solving this crime. It’s a moral grey zone, where everyone is a little shady and mucky. And as readers, we are so lucky to have this complex saga.
DC Comics, Gotham City Year One #2, $4.99 for 30 pages of content. 13+