Batman: Gotham Knights #1
DC Comics (March 2000–published to comiXology July 27 2011)
WRITER: Devin K Grayson
PENCILER: Dale Eaglesham
INKER: John Floyd
COLORIST: Pamela Rambo
SEPARATIONS: WildStorm FX
LETTERER: Bill Oakley
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Joseph Illidge
EDITOR: Dennis O’Neil
“To Become The Bat”
WRITER: Warren Ellis
ARTIST: Jim lee
LETTERER: Richard Starkings
The main story has Batman attempting to find the murderer of a senator who was one of the “No Man’s Land” supporters and his wife, leaving behind an orphan witness. Nightwing worries Batman may be taking this one too seriously and slyly draws in the rest of the Batman family to assist over Bruce’s objections. As the suspect list dwindles Nightwing can tell that Batman is trying to ignore the obvious, that the boy is the killer. Eventually he’s forced to accept the truth, though the boy gives no reason why.
What they got right: It’s not one of those mysteries the audience needs to solve since the focus is actually on Batman dealing with what appears to be a parallel to his own origin, and both Robin (Tim Drake at the time) and Nightwing realizing he has a blind spot to the real culprit. It shows the group working together to overcome Batman’s weakness in this case. The art is also good.
What they got wrong: The framing device, which I can only assume played into the later issues, has someone going over Batman’s file, sure he’ll have to take him down at some point. He or she appears to know at least Bruce and Dick’s identities. However, it doesn’t really add anything to this plot and seems to have it’s own theme of why Batman keeps his team around and cares about them as his family while the story itself is more focused on Batman ignoring the obvious because he doesn’t want to believe it even as the clues mount and the suspects are cleared. Also, why is the dead pro-No Man’s Land senator called out as being part of the GOP? His party affiliation has no connection to even the red herrings and false leads in the story. Just leave it unmentioned.
A short “black and white” style back up feature (like the comic I reviewed two weeks ago) has Batman investigating a murdered prostitute, connecting it to a senator client (this is Batman’s week for senators I guess) who got her pregnant. It’s intercut with images of Bruce’s training to become Batman and tying them to using those skills today. A bit distracting but Lee does his best to make the flashbacks different enough from the current events that most of the time you can tell which is which. And this senator’s party is not mentioned, like I was saying earlier.
Recommendation: I can’t speak for the full series but as a stand-alone issue this was quite good, worth looking into if you ignore the narration.