The Architects of Fate
A mysterious assailant has bombed the New Trigate bridges and it's up to the Batfamily to find out who and why. How does the history of Gotham's founding families relate to the tragic events of the present? Well that's exactly what Dick Grayson plans on finding out.
I absolutely love this cover, everything about it is just so aesthetically pleasing. It reminds me of Grant Morrison's Gothic. The stained glass window with the various members of the Batfamily is an excellent touch and a really powerful image to offset Dick in the foreground.
I'm not very familiar with Trevor McCarthy, but he's really impressed me with this issue. He turns in some really great artwork in this issue. His style very much reminds me of the art on the Batman Beyond animated series. It's dark and brooding, but the line work and coloring of Guy Major give it a vibrant, animated feel. The start of this issue is very action heavy and this gives McCarthy a chance to really show his stuff. This guy has a knack for drawing motion and movement and making it feel appropriately dynamic. The panels with Dick rescuing those in need after the bombing flow so fluidly and really drew me into the story. McCarthy also does a good job of using the character's facial expressions to properly emote. There's a women trapped underwater in her car and the look of despair on her face said a lot more than any words could've.
Like McCarthy, I knew nothing about Scott Higgins until I read this comic. And once again, I've got to say I'm highly impressed. He's got a good handle on just how all the various members of the Batfamily thinks, speaks, behaves, and interacts with one another. There's on moment in particular that shows this very well. Immediately after the clean up work ends Gordon and Dick compare notes on the situation and Gordon offers him a little encouragement and reassures him that he did all he could and that that was all he could do. Dick at times has this drive to try to save everybody, after all the loss he's endured in his life he never wants to see another innocent perish, especially under his watch. This story offers the perfect opportunity for Higgins to explore this aspect of Dick's nature. It's not that other writers haven't done this recently, Morrison definitely tapped into this vein during the beginning of Batman And Robin, but he played it a bit too neurotic for my taste. Higgins gives Dick the appropriate amount of guilt tempered with resolve. Higgins allows this tragedy to galvanize him versus paralyzing him.
I'm always a fan of Dick and Tim teaming up. Bar none, they are easily my favorite duo in the history of comics. Higgins excellent characterization of both takes something I love and makes it all the better. Tim's more laid back, go with the flow nature serves as a perfect balance for Dick this issue.
Dick goes to put the pressure on the Penguin and see if he can rattle some information of him. I've always loved the way that Batman has interacted with the Penguin over the years. We've seen this dance before, but Higgins hits all the right steps in perfect rhythm.
It was good to see the Batfamily interacting outside of their uniforms, it's something that I find all too rare these days.
The appearance of Hush at the end of this issue definitely has me excited. He's one of my favorite Batman villains and I can't wait to see what Snyder and Higgins have planned for him. Nobody's used him nearly as well as Loeb did since his creation, but I'm optimistic that this team of writers can turn this around. I also like the design of this Architect guy. It's very Victorian era steampunk and conjurs up memories of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Mike Mignola's Hellboy.
DC pulled a pretty clever bait and switch on me. I brought this issue because I believed that Snyder and Higgins were co-writing this. They even Give Snyder top billing on the cover. Turns out they collaborated on the story, but Higgins does the heavy lifting. A very sly business move, which I must admire, but nonetheless I wag my finger shamefully at you DC...
As much as I enjoyed McCarthy's art this issue there were a few hiccups. The underwater sequences with Dick rescuing the woman trapped in her car was overall excellent but was a little confusing due to the coloring. McCarthy definitely understands the physics of how bodies move when submerged in water, however the facial expressions that he drew on the drowned victims is awkward and distracting. This removes some of the impact of the sober moment unfolding before us. The inking on the faces of men in this comic makes everybody look like they have soul patches. While he nails everybody's costumes Damian and Tim look particularly unlike themselves. Tim looks too young and his hair is completely off and Damien looks a bit too old.
It seems that Cassie's appearance in this issue amounts to no more than a needless cameo, hopefully next issue will prove me wrong on this, but as of now I'm most unsatisfied with her use in this issue.
Buy This Comic!!!
Higgins and McCarthy have come out of left field and hit me with a well placed sucker punch. These guys were totally off my radar and from here on out I'll definitely be paying close attention. This issue does everything that an introduction is supposed to and does it all just right. I'm definitely going to be sticking around to see where this mini series goes, if the rest of the journey's as great as the beginning then we're all in for quite a treat.