Batman: Gotham Adventures #41
DC Comics (October, 2001)
“A Tale Of Joe”
WRITER: Scott Peterson
PENCILER: Tim Levins
INKER: Terry Beatty
COLORIST: Lee Loughridge
LETTERER: Albert T. de Guzman
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Harvey Richards & Nachie Castro
EDITORS: Jan Hilty & Bob Schreck
Meet Joe, a man who in his own words “it’s easier, I guess, to go along and see what happens”, but also has the problem of making the wrong friends and being late for everything. The former brings him numerous run-ins with Batman but also saves him from a Bat-fist to the face. He’s a decent enough guy otherwise so Batman and the crew come up with a plan to snap him out of his funk before he ends up in jail. Now Joe works at the community center.
What they got right: This was a good use of outside party narration, a dying art in comics if there’s any narration at all. The story itself is solid, showing a man drifting through life but always getting pulled in the wrong direction, narrowly avoiding a bad fate until Batman’s words finally reach him and he ends up saving Batman from some bad guys.
What they got wrong: Or so he thinks. This has the same problem as issue #19, by the same writer. It would have been better had the bad guys actually been a threat. In fact I think it would have worked better here than in that issue. It puts more weight on Joe’s decision since it doesn’t just matter for his growth as a person but makes his actions a bit more meaningful, even more so than it did with Tim and “Phil” in #19. I know the point is to show how Batman and the Bat-Family have many ways to fight crime in Gotham, such as the preventative measure of getting a person at a crossroads on the straight and narrow, but that’s the problem. It takes the focus off of Joe and onto Batman. Batman’s words should have been enough by the time this last crime happened and if Peterson is going to go for this kind of story again it’s something I hope he considered, if only to be different the next round.
Recommendation: One minor complaint (just with a long explanation) in an otherwise fun and good story. Worth checking out. I wish regular DCU Batman was more like this.