Gotham City: Year One #3 Review

Writer: Tom King

Art: Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles

Publisher: DC Comics


Release Date: December 6th, 2022

Slam Bradley has been one step behind the kidnappers the entire time…can he turn the tables in time to save the infant heiress to the Wayne fortune? Is this hardened private investigator prepared to deal with a dark, deadly twist that will define Gotham City for generations to come? Let’s dive into Gotham City: Year One #3 by Tom King and find out!

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Gotham City: Year One #3 Review.


So, I want to be upfront before I dive into this issue in order to let comic book fans in general know a little something about the website. Here at the Comic Book Dispatch, we pride ourselves on honest, down-to-earth reviews, for the people, by the people. We’ll shoot you straight and we won’t sugarcoat something just to get in anyone’s good graces. Now, I open with this comment because anyone who’s been following my reviews for the past couple of years would know that I’m not the biggest Tom King fan. To say the least, I have been strongly disappointed with his work as he frequently runs down rabbit holes without always providing answers. Oftentimes, his work comes across as pretentious and he changes longstanding characters to his liking even if the characteristics don’t fit.


Anyway, my point by diving so hard into Tom King to open this review is to show readers how truly outstanding Gotham City: Year One #3 was. And keep in mind, this review is coming from someone who’s not King’s biggest fan. Readers, this has to be one of the best single issues of a comic I have read in quite some time. The emotion this story brews up inside your gut, especially to anyone with kids, will practically make you shed a tear. The depth King adds to Slam Bradley making you genuinely feel for this down-and-out Private Detective is outstanding. This is the first time in a long time that I feel King genuinely hit the mark to his full potential.

Readers will find themselves hanging on to every word from Slam Bradley as he monologues through this story. Moreover, the connection readers will have to Mrs. Wayne, heck even Slam’s mother, was just undeniable. There is no doubt that readers who have invested their time to this point will feel the suspense buried within each page of Gotham City: Year One #3. Fans will experience a Private Eye going through the motions and explaining every step of what and how he’s tracking down his target. Yet simultaneously, feel the burden and weight of what’s revealed as Gotham City: Year One #3 concludes. It’s this type of character and story that is literally in King’s wheelhouse. It’s within continuity but still kind of its own entity. It’s his own creation but in DC Comics without impacting characters on multiple levels. This is it, people!


However, it’s not just King who hits a grand slam here. It’s also Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles who bring this story to life. I’ll actually start with Cowles’ lettering. If you want to know why they call him “Slam” just take a look at his lettering to find out! Every punch, kick, and fight showcasing Bradley packs a vivid punch thanks to Cowles. Moreover, Hester and Gapstur provide readers with the Gotham Noir feel but with an updated spin that’s still sharp and edgy.

The creative team uses silhouettes in the background at the perfect times when Slam is monologuing, provides shadows and darker tones to magnify the intensity of the mood, and finishes this story off with a guttural splash page that would bring anyone to their knees. King’s story wouldn’t hit as hard without this art crew by his side. And together, they do a masterful job of making the conclusion of this issue almost too overwhelming for words.


“A mother knows.” Readers, it’s that line that just might haunt you all week after reading Gotham City: Year One #3. And furthermore, it’s the emotion raging through these characters that will make it hard to sleep tonight. King, Hester, and this team absolutely nailed it! The only problem with this issue is that you won’t truly feel the anger and pain released in this issue unless you’ve been following along since jump street. So, I highly recommend giving this series a shot by going back to the beginning.

And as for how I began the review of Gotham City: Year One #3, please understand that I truly do respect King as a writer, and I know he puts forth a ton of effort into all he does. Lately, his items just haven’t been hitting nor do I think he delivers on his characters well. But this issue is entirely different. Again, this is not only the best issue of the week BUT the best issue I’ve read by anyone at any company for quite some time. I just warn you to be prepared to truly feel the supercharged, raw emotions that will literally leap off the page this week as you read it. What an outstanding job by everyone involved. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!


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