Booster Gold arrives to a version of Gotham where Hal Jordan is in the process of shooting himself in the head with his Green Lantern Ring. Booster and Skeets search the city for Batman, only to find a grizzled and armed Dark Knight ready and eager to gun down any superhero he sees. Also, this Batman is not Bruce Wayne.
Batman #45 is a pleasingly prompt return for Booster Gold, even if it has nothing to do with the premise listed on ComiXology. The setting is interesting. The comic does a good job of using non-sequiturs from across Gotham to show how much of a mess this version of the city is. Booster and Skeets have a fun back-and-forth. The opening scene is shocking enough to pull you in quickly.
Everything about this comic works perfectly until the ending. I can, thankfully, talk about it without spoiling specifics, as it is a broad self-destruction of the story.
In short, the explanation for what happened to this version of Gotham is a reference to an old Superman story but does it far worse. In doing so, it makes Booster look wildly irresponsible and not particularly intelligent. Bruce doesn’t come out looking great either, but it’s within the realm of believability given the circumstances.
It also doesn’t really make sense with any pre-established concept of time travel. Comic books do play fast and loose with that but thinking about this issue for more than a few seconds makes the entire exercise feel a bit pointless.
That leaves the book with a decent scenario for a Batman story that is built upon a cracking foundation.
Tony Daniel rejoins the Batman for this issue, but even his work isn’t up to par with my expectations of the usually-excellent artist. While there are some gorgeous pages, the detailing is lighter than usual in spots. Booster Gold looks oddly lanky. This version of the Caped Crusader looks good, but that is the highlight of the overall book. While the art isn’t bad by any measure, it does fall short of usual Daniel material. Tomeu Morey’s color art is up to snuff and creates the oppressive world one thinks of when they hear the words, “Gotham City.”
Batman #45 is a welcome return for Booster Gold, but the issue falls short when it comes time for the comic to tilt its hand. The premise is bafflingly short-sighted and will either reflect badly on Booster or the comic itself depending on your perception. It could be almost funny depending on your viewpoint, and this version of Gotham does have a lot of potential to make for an interesting story. Perspective does count for a lot in this one, and your mileage may vary. For me, it’s a bit of a wash. Some good ideas are countered by some bad ones. Daniel is here, but his work isn’t quite up to his usual standards. I can’t quite recommend it, but I can’t say to definitively say to stay away either.
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