Writer: Tom King
Art: Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 3rd, 2023
The new crime-noir classic rolls on! Slam Bradley’s search for the Wayne heiress takes a tragic, deadly turn and the simmering pot that is Gotham City is about to boil over in this week’s Gotham City: Year One #4 by Tom King! As the world falls apart around him, Slam must decide between justice and revenge—a choice that will echo down the generations and redefine both Gotham and Batman!
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Gotham City: Year One #4 continues its unexpected story threads with another glamorous gem. Readers will get answers, relationships get hot and heavy, and the origin of Crime Alley is revealed. King packs a ton into the issue and keeps the pace moving smoothly with his perplexing plot wrinkles and dark noir tones that provide solid fanfare.
Additionally, King does a spectacular job showcasing how tough Slam Bradley truly is. This guy can take a beating like anyone else and keeps on coming. Plus, the brooding relationship between Mrs. Wayne and Slam was bound to happen which explodes on the pages this week. I hoped that it wasn’t at the expense of the child. However, that was a strong plot point that helped Gotham City: Year One #3 thrive while also propelling Gotham City: Year One #4 into the wildly epic conclusion I wasn’t expecting.
Moreover, I’ve been really digging the recent play-by-play from writers this week where the main characters explain their actions while they’re doing it. For example, Slam knocks a guy out and explains why he’s hitting him and where he’s hitting him. Plus, he self-narrates almost each and every move he makes just like he would if it was a noir film from the same time era.
The biggest knock I can give this week’s issue of Gotham City: Year One is probably within the art realm. I’ve been noticing this for a couple of issues now but the design of some of the characters is just too similar. Queenie and Mrs. Wayne looked very similar in their composition, rendering, and even shading at times. Moreover, Slam, Mr. Wayne, and even Wayne’s henchmen even all looked similar. They all share that same box head shape and demeanor.
It’s not necessarily the end of the world but it definitely caused me to pause more frequently than not as I was reading Gotham City: Year One #4. Other than dress attire at times, that was the only distinguishing difference between characters. Now, it’s too late to change their appearance within the middle of the comic. However, maybe the coloring and dress attire could be a bit more drastically different in the later issues to help distinguish between specific characters.
Gotham City: Year One #4 continues this undeniably powerful story forward by raising the stakes with romance and new potential perps. And just when you think the story is done, King throws in some more wrinkles to keep fans on their toes. Readers will find themselves cheering for Slam throughout all the punishment and hoping that this character finds a place in comic stories for years to come.
Gotham City: Year One #4 combines some of the best qualities of a crime noir and mixes them together with a historic, continuity dream that places so much more history in Gotham and with the Waynes. Sure, Gotham City: Year One #4 isn’t as powerful as the last issue but this issue still had its decisive moments. Batman fans interested in Gotham and the Waynes need to be reading this series. Film noir buffs should also hop on this train while they still can. I simply couldn’t be more excited to see this series come out each month. It’s so weird for me to say this but… Keep it coming Mr. King! Keep it coming! Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!