Detective Comics #1058
The Tower’s conclusion felt like it suddenly needed a rushed ending. Writer Mariko Tamaki methodically developed this story of a con man planning a major heist with the help of Psycho Pirate. The Bat Family was leery of this miracle treatment for Gotham’s mentally ill and went undercover for when things predictably went wrong.
In the last issue, Batman returned presumably from his stint overseas with Batman Inc. and returned for the final face off with Scarecrow. After reading this chapter, I thought I’d missed an installment. But Tamaki really just skipped past the big confrontation for essentially an epilogue. Deb Donovan is wrapping her story, Team Batman and Penguin’s goons are looking for Psycho Pirate and Mayor Nakano’s wife, Koyuki, is chatting with her therapist.
Tamaki doesn’t explain what happened after Koyuki grabbed the Madusa Mask in last issue’s cliffhanger or how everything got resolved. It’s hard to overstate how lackluster this finale was considering how many issues felt like Tamaki possibly was dragging out the story. To build the story for so long and skate through the finale felt like a disservice to the investment readers put into The Tower story.
At least Amancay Nahuelpan’s art and Jordie Bellaire’s colors held up their respective ends. This was Nahuelpan’s best work on the arc with great perspective choices, action sequences and a moody atmosphere. Bellaire always does stellar work. It’s almost easy to take her contributions for granted, but they were especially key in this chapter.
Conversely, the finale of The House of Gotham had a terrific payoff. It’s not something that would work for every story, but in this particular case writer Matthew Rosenberg wrapped it beautifully.
The unnamed character finally has the two men who tormented his entire life — The Joker and Batman — captured. He’s not alone as he’s got Killer Croc, Clayface and Scarecrow for backup. Batman finds himself in the rare position of pleading for Joker’s life. It’s not for Joker’s sake, but rather the character who could still make a difference in Gotham.
Rosenberg plays this debate out well and sets up a killer ending. It makes sense in the context of the story and doesn’t feel like a shortcut at all.
Fernando Blanco didn’t miss an issue providing the art for this arc and it’s made for a consistent presence and tone for House of Gotham. This was another strong issue for Blanco’s style of storytelling with heavy blacks and dark shadows. It’s aided further by Bellaire’s excellent color choices.
As disappointing as The Tower’s finale was The House of Gotham shined. This was a case where I’d prefer to rate the stories separately, but the higher mark here comes solely from House of Gotham.
Rating: 8 out of 10