Greetings all! Amputechture here with my first actual part on Batmania Reviews! So if I am a main collaborator on the site, why am I just now reviewing something? Well, the truth is, I have been busy behind the scenes ... In any case, you don't really care about that do you? No. Here are my thoughts on Batman: Streets of Gotham #2 ...
Summary: The story in this issue opens with Alfred watching the chaos in Gotham City unfold (apparently dusting helps to calm the nerves ... ) Gothamites are combusting into flames all over the city due to Firefly's twisted plans. It seems Bruce's old pal, Thomas Elliot, sees this as his chance to escape as he fools Alfred into thinking he himself is also a victim. We then shoot around town to see what everyone else is up to ...
We cut (briefly) to Firefly (Garfield Lynns) who shows just how twisted he really is. He isn't doing this to get money, he just likes "watching them dance," reveling in Gotham's misery. Not to mention that it brings Batman much pain. What a punk. We are then treated to the antics of the new kid in town, Abuse. It seems some of the citizens of the city have decided to loot, not from stores, but private homes. Abuse does not like this; not one bit ...
Batman and Robin encounter Abuse who was in the process of severely punishing some thugs. He remarks that he was doing "his part" and then Batman questions who this new vigilante is. Abuse proceeds to make his escape, as he is "hurt" that Batman doesn't remember him ( hey, he's a sensitive guy ... ) Batman and Robin deduce that he must have been one of the "other" Batman's friends. Interesting indeed ...
After Batman and Robin restrain the battered thugs, they move on (magically at that ...) to help Katy; the young girl from the last issue. Seems she aged a few years ... Batman is questioning her as he delicately removes the bug that she was tagged with. She doesn't offer much in the way information on Lynns himself, but the location where she was tagged gives the duo the lead that they needed.
We cut back to Lynn's who is suited up and ready for a confrontation. This he get's, as Black Mask makes quite the entrance, ( Black Mask is too evil for doors I tell's ya'! ) Apparently, Firefly's shenanigan's don't sit too well with him. He proceeds to activate the chemical in Firefly's body (the one that was injected into all of Arkham's escapees) ... but to no avail. Yes, it turns out Lynns was able to remove the chemical.
This set's Black Mask off as he orders his goons to take down the traitor. Firefly sets off a nice little trap and gains the upper hand. Just as he is about to finish off Mask, our Dynamic Duo intervene with a destructive entrance of their own. ( The building has to be seriously compromised by now.)
Batman and Robin jump out of the Batmobile and pursue the villains. Batman grapples onto a fleeing Firefly and Robin takes Black Mask. Before the Boy Wonder can do anything though, Zsasz intervenes and saves Black Mask ... So close.
Batman has more success as he floods Firefly's jet pack with a cooling round. Nice shot. They hurtle back towards the ground. The Dark Knight lands safely while Firefly is left to fall into the building which is now engulfed in flame. Thus, Firefly is left to die at the hands of his own device. Or is he?
As we cut back to the "Batcave," Dick, Alfred and Damien are in for a surprise. Dick is in the process of sending out a message to various heroes to "watch for" Thomas, when a news report catches their eye. Seems the escaped Elliot is impersonating Bruce Wayne and is being recorded live outside of the building! They approach him just to helplessly watch as he gives away One-Billion dollars, promising more every month ... Damien's closing statement says it all "We're screwed ..."
Final Thoughts: I will say this right now, I am a huge Dini fan, and this is what makes me more critical than usual. I found that some of the story-telling elements were not up to snuff. We really have no hint as to how Thomas Elliot started the fire to escape. It may seem minor, but Dini isn't writing a cartoon here, we need some shred of explanation. It was also strange that Batman and Robin "teleported" right to Katy's position after tying up the thugs that Abuse had, well abused.
The characterization of Firefly was great as it really made him into a threat, showing a sadistic side. Still, it seemed to be a waste as he makes Black Mask look like a buffoon and in turn is defeated by Batman within a few panels. Really? It also seems that Dini is striving for an expanded look at Gotham which makes the way Dick and Damien are written seem out-of- place. As if he needs to feel out the character's a bit more. And we get it Dini ... You like Zatanna.
The art lent itself to some annoyances as well. In my opinion, Dustin Nguyen is very talented, but just seems lazy on books as opposed to his various standalone artwork pieces. Katy, as I mentioned before, seems to be older in this issue. Not to mention that Black Mask looks down-right ridiculous at times. I may not be fan, but he does have some great visuals, especially in the fire-tinged scenes.
Despite these minor details, this was a solid book. While Dini may need to flesh out a few more things, the overall story was well-written with plenty of questions left to be answered. I am curious to learn more about Abuse and his role in all of this. While I find the Thomas Elliot plot "twist" a bit silly, I am interested to see how this plays out. Definitely a good read and something you should check out.