Comic Book Review: Batman and the Signal #2
It really is a new age of heroes in the DC Universe. Duke Thomas may not be a new hero, but he is stepping out into the light of day to be recognized as one. Maybe Gotham isn’t the right start for a hero like him, but there’s no better place to be with the rise in meta-human activity and population. Knowing the way he lives, the people who surround him, and what motivates him were the perfect stepping-stones to jump into this next issue where it is all about the mission at hand.
With issue #2 we jump back into the fight between Signal and these teenage villains. As I said before these were some interesting creations for his first rogues gallery. Cybernetics, blackholes, paints, not exactly what you would put together but they are more than enough to push Signal against the wall. What holds your attention more than anything else here is the further exploration of Duke’s powers. Being able to see through things and people is quite the useful power against the right people. This doesn’t make Duke powerful, but it makes him very formidable in combat. The best thing to come of this confrontation is that we now know there is someone at the top pulling the strings. Someone who is cold and apparently not to be disobeyed either. Keeping the identity of this person a mystery was smart considering there are plenty more questions to answer before getting to who he is.
Till then, what this guy at the top had to reveal was pretty huge. The important thing here was making sure that his actions were believable as the big bad, and he did not disappoint. Everything was starting to connect as he made his presence known. Especially when it came to escalating a situation that was already serious for the people who have already died from being transformed into metas.
Character interactions was also a point of interest for this issue when it doesn’t seem like everyone is on the same page about how the Signal should work. One of the stronger concepts for this miniseries is that it challenges what it means to be a hero in Gotham. When you step out into the light, you are losing everything that makes a hero feared in that city. The intimidation, the cloak of the night, and the ability to act without interference. None of that Duke has going for himself right now and that creates a whole new set of challenges. Having Riko there was a solid nudge that there are some things that will and will not work for him if he plans to be successful. The Signal also learning to work with the GCPD was a welcomed change as well. There are certain things that not even Izzy and Riko can help him with, and this is all part of him being able to forge his own path in the daylight.
It also doesn’t hurt that with each issue we can expect to continue learning more about Duke. Especially when it comes to his past and family. There’s much we still don’t know about him and now is a good place to start peeling that onion.
The artwork for this issue continues to impress with this art team showing that they are able to take full advantage of what the daytime has to offer in Gotham. Though before that, let’s get to the fight that wrapped up. That was fun for the fact that the Signal makes use of a new kind of power that no one else in the Bat Family has. Its differences like what he is capable of that can grab you most. The effect of his powers this time around was dialed back a bit, but the way they displayed it was still appealing. This isn’t to say that there weren’t other uses where the way he used his power wasn’t cool. Having that ability to see the world in a different light, literally, is exciting. It helped that this was one of a few moments where we could also see what else new his armor can do in a pinch. Creativity with metas was key to the exploration this issue and they got that right as well. The changes people went through ranged from heavily external to simple as blasting energy. The reveal of this new villain was interesting since he has a similar color scheme for the claims he makes towards being connected to Duke.
Batman and the Signal #2 cranks the dial with a great sense of pacing. Many questions were asked, and almost just as many were answered. Gotham during the day truly is a different kind of world of its own. It’s hard to believe that it really took the emergence of the Signal to get this kind of experience.