Writer: Tom King
Art: Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: February 7th, 2023
Beaten, bruised, and betrayed, Slam Bradley should have never gotten involved with the Waynes. With a tragic turn of events and a city on the edge of burning, can this hard-boiled private detective close an impossible case? Let’s dive into Gotham City: Year One #5 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 #5 Review.
Tension. Every good crime story needs tension. However, the art of a great crime story is the surprise. And Gotham City: Year One #5 has all of that and a bag of chips! King does a masterful job of setting readers down a path for a good two issues only to rip it all away and send fans into a different direction totally unexpected. Yet it’s not just the surprise that will get the reader. It’s the complexity in the backstory that really provides something to grab onto. You see, Gotham City: Year One #5 showcases Queenie laying out the entire story readers didn’t know behind the scenes. Nevertheless, even as the narrative reaches its climax and all the pieces begin to fit perfectly together… finally… the swerve happens to send fans in a gasping direction they may have suspected before but thought to be proven wrong until now.
Additionally, as you read Gotham City: Year One #5, as well as the entire run to date, fans will see the true makeup of a great crime story. King takes time to provide a slow burn that mirrors all the flaws in these characters, even Slam. And man oh man, the amount of dirty hands that continue to pile up throughout this kidnapping is getting unprecedented. Heck, it appears as though it very well could be this specific event that’s led Gotham to become the Gotham of today. You see, King has created his own characters and his own backstory but manages to do so in a way that focuses on their interests while simultaneously making almost all of them unlikeable. But that’s in part what makes a good page-turner. Readers feel practically compelled to turn the page hanging off of every word. And let me tell you, if I was to knock one thing in the issue, there certainly are a ton of words. Yet, even with the sea of lettering, how else could we get the story and inner thoughts of the characters? It’s almost a double-edged sword you can’t escape if you want to create a great crime narrative.
Fans, the art is just consistent. It doesn’t waver and actually focuses more on the lettering than anything else this week. Most of the lettering resembles notes torn from pages in a journal or even song lyrics flying through the air. Now, I reference the lettering mainly this week because there is a ton, which sounds detrimental. I get it. However, even with the bombardment of lettering, fans will discover how necessary it is to the success of the issue. Additionally, readers will notice other subtle nuisances hidden within the art that adds a bit more insight into the series. The flashbacks are colorless yet still dark and almost violent. Yet the present-day coloring leans heavily on the oranges due to a city that’s rioting and burning. Moreover, the design of both the present day and the past has this solid macabre feel that helps fortify this story in the perfect crime setting.
Gotham City: Year One #5 isn’t as good as the Helena Wayne reveal but it’s right up there as one of the best, if not the second best issue in the run to date. This is the issue that puts all the pieces together for the reader and truly showcases all the core elements of a great crime noir. Readers get all the evil motivations mixed with an incredibly dark setting. King builds up the backstory and unveils the exceptional, airtight plot. He keeps the (quite extensive) dialogue real and raw but focuses on the characters throughout the kidnapper’s big plan reveal. Plus, King continues to quietly and masterfully reveal the flaws of his characters one by one in a meticulous fashion that’s perfectly orchestrated throughout Gotham City: Year One #5.
However, the kicker to this reviewer that pushes this issue over the top of so many of the rest this week at DC, as well as within this series, is the sheer surprises on almost every other page. If you’ve been following along with this quite remarkable series so far, you will absolutely love Gotham City: Year One #5. If you’ve just figured out that his comic is one of the best things DC has going for it right now, you’re a bit late to the party. But, if you can’t find the issues at your LCS, you can certainly snag them online right HERE and I can get you all caught up fast! I couldn’t recommend this issue and series enough. If you have any questions on the review or are ever interested in tackling a comic review of your own, feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!