“Gates of Gotham” #2 presents a dense and layered mystery that continues to unravel itself as we explore Gotham’s creation while the modern day Bat-family tries to prevent its destruction. “Gates of Gotham” presents a detailed and fascinating look at the most famous fictional city in comics, and one full of mysteries just waiting to be discovered.
There continues to be a lot of set up — perhaps a little too much — in “Gates of Gotham” #2 as we’re treated to some history on how Gotham came to be. However, despite dragging in bits, the history is thus far all tying together quite nicely with the present tale, which makes it all worth it. The story shifts between the past, a narrative about two step brothers that helped build Gotham as we know it today, and the present, where Dick, Tim, Cass, and Damian try to prevent disaster in a series of bombs planted throughout Gotham. The two stories delve nicely into one another and promise some interesting revelations, including one that I won’t spoil at the end of this issue.
Snyder and Higgins do good work in laying down a complicated and compelling mystery for our detectives to solve. And despite the heavy back-story and a lot of plot points driving forward, we still get some nice character moments for all of our young Bats, especially between the long absent Cassandra Cain and her brother Damian Wayne. They’re a pair of characters I’ve long wanted to see interacting together, and Snyder and Higgins smartly pair them up as a team here to maximize that experience. While Damian is a character that most writers can easily find, Cass is a character not all writers can get a feel for, and Snyder and Higgins do well on that front, creating some truly enjoyable reading for fans of all the Bats. It does make Cassandra Cain’s absence from the upcoming September re-launch, after finally being un-benched here, even more bittersweet.
Trevor McCarthy’s art is better in this issue, detailed and layered and full of visual delights, with fewer missteps than the first issue. He handles all the Bats (Dick/Batman, Tim, Cassandra, and Damian) with seeming ease, and yet falls just as nicely into the period work that dominates the first half of the book. His architecture work and cityscapes, critical for this book, are lavish and wonderful.
This is a strong Bat-book in a field fairly full of strong Bat-books, but Snyder has proven that he knows this world well. With a strong team in Higgins and McCarthy, “Gates of Gotham” is a must read.