Batman #3 starts off with what appears to be Bruce Wayne retelling the story of his parents death and how it affected him and how he perceives the city of Gotham in all its seedier stench and low road to glory. We see a family of three, husband, wife and young son all walking down the wrong alley coming from the movie theater, only to be accosted by a thug in the night that wants nothing but bad from an innocent family.
Except this time, Batman stops the thug and leaves the family with a hopeful message for next time, effectively changing his own history, right? Of course not, wrong superhero.
No, this time we find out that what we were really seeing was the origin of Gotham, one of the new superheroes in the city now along with his sister Gotham Girl, who are pledged to help Batman in his never-ending quest for justice.
Unlike Bruce Wayne, for whom the death of his parents at the hands of evil would fuel the monster that he would eventually let out to play in Batman, the young boy whose parents were saved by Batman was profoundly influenced by the event and resolved himself to help other and follow in the crimefighting footsteps of The Dark Knight, a path shared with him by his sister, leading the both of them in adult years to somehow acquire superpowers and transform themselves into the superheroes they are now in the present day, fighting alongside Batman.
The dynamics of this story are phenomenal as we are given a few twists and turns with the narrative, but ultimately are told in brief detail the origin of Gotham and Gotham Girl, which serves to answer a few questions, most notably if Bruce knew who they were, which he certainly does. On the other hand, while the story remains compelling it doesn't answer every question we have, such as how deep Hugo Strange's involvement in what is going on in Gotham is and just how responsible he might be for the "Mystery Men" that are said to be coming.
The Batman series has been one of the strongest out of the gate for DC in its new Rebirth line and it doesn't seem to be slowing anytime soon. Tom King and Danny Miki have displayed the core elements of Batman so far in this series while still managing to tell a new story with different wrinkles that we haven't seen before in these new heroes that were seemingly "created" by Batman, which raises some great questions as it is: Would Bruce have turned out any differently if his parents were saved by a hero just as theirs were? Would he be like them and still want to fight crime? How does Bruce feel knowing that doing the right thing actually created more heroes?
It's that next level of storytelling that sits at the strong heart of this issue and this series as a whole. With DC Rebirth almost universally being praised for some seminal work being done with their comics right now, it was important for a character like Batman to have a strong start and he most certainly has that right now. It almost makes you wonder how Detective Comics current run and Scott Snyder's upcoming All-Star Batman run will compare. In any case, it's a great time to read some Batman right now.
5 out of 5 stars - DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH: Batman #3
This is a biweekly series, next issue due out August 3rd.