Things continue to spiral from bad to worse for Batman’s crew in Detective Comics #953. The League of Shadows is attacking Gotham City on all fronts and even Batman seems to be overwhelmed.
The mayor is dead. The Deputy Mayor is out of his depth and spreading panic. Commissioner Gordon is wearing a Hawaiian shirt. The League has poisoned hundreds with Joker’s gas making the police think he is on the loose. And all that’s happened by the second page. After that things get really bad.
Cassandra Cain (who despite all the time with the name Orphan, my brain insists on calling Batgirl) is regressing back the assassin her father trained her to be on seeing her mother, Shiva, leading the assault on Gotham. First, she confronts Batman.
Batman tries to reach the person Cassandra’s become since joining the group. He doesn’t fight back against her thinking that she will hold back. It is a nearly fatal mistake.
Meanwhile, The League of Shadows is taking out both the Belfry and the Batcave. They tear Clayface to pieces and bring Batwoman to the prison where her father is being held, to stab her through with a katana in front of him.
Cassandra finally confront Shiva, but then refuses to fight back in a replay with her fight against Batman. Shiva is not impressed with her daughter’s restraint and doesn’t hold back.
It is interesting that in this issue all forms of family are being destroyed: the found family of friends and allies, the father-daughter of the Kane’s, the reunited family of the Cain’s and Batman and Alfred. None of these are holding up against the sustained battering by the League. It will be interesting to see if and how these can be rebuilt.
In a side note, I can’t help but notice that James Tynion IV’s (The Woods, Constantine: The Hellblazer) story is taking place at the same time that Bane is ripping up Gotham in Batman’s own book. I really have to wonder how any of these writers can justify Gotham’s not having been abandoned when it seems that terrorist attacks are killing hundreds of people every week. Hell, I’d move to Metropolis in a heartbeat and I don’t know how anyone could be blamed for making that choice.
Christian Duce (Justice League, Wonder Woman ’77) and Fernando Blanco (Midnighter and Apollo, Army of Darkness) take full advantage of the chaos in the story to lay out three separate incredibly kinetic fights. Each fight is visually different in terms of layout and style but they all work together in service of the story. And they put Gordon in a Hawaiian shirt.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artists: Christian Duce and Fernando Blanco
Colors: Alex Sinclair and Allen Passalaqua