Though I’m enjoying DC’s Rebirth era, I remain cautiously optimistic. When I heard that the Batman titles were going to jump straight into a crossover called “Night of the Monster Men”, I figured it would be goofy as hell. And I was right, but it’s not bad.
The first issues come in Batman #7 and Nightwing #5. The issues are plotted by Steve Orlando, though the books are primarily written by their respective writers. The story picks up right where Detective Comics #940 left off. Shortly after Tim’s death, Batman has called in the family to keep them closer. Monster’s begin attacking the city, and he deduces its the work of only one man: Dr. Hugo Strange.
“Monster Men” is a story that could easily be stupid and ridiculous, but instead it has heart. You feel bad for these characters, trying to come to terms with their loss and still facing a nightmarish attack on Gotham. I love how the loss motivates the characters. While the grief is felt, it’s never rammed down your throat. Its subtle, but it’s there.
Batman is reeling from Tim’s “death”, and it’s the driving force between his actions in the story. He’s not pushing everyone away as he typically has in the past, but instead pulling them close and sheltering them. The new Batman is being handled expertly. Here he is fueled purely by his grief. Tim’s death has wracked him to his core, and the ramifications are on display throughout this story.
But perhaps most poignant is Gotham Girl, who has been established as hiding in the Batcave at Batman’s order. She’s still affected by Psycho Pirate’s manipulations and told not to use her powers as they slowly drain her life. But by the conclusion of Part 2, she’s racing off to save the day. She’s the only Bat-family member with super powers. She’s the only one fast enough to save citizens who are in danger as everyone else tangles with evacuating the city or finding a cure. With the way her character has been written and the implication of how she factors into the future of Batman, I truly think she’s going to turn out to be one of the best characters in 2016.
The first two issues have surprised me. These books very nearly made the Pull List these week, but I wasn’t sure how good they’d be. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that they were well written, fantastic stories. The overall plot is moved on with a weight and meaning, but the “Monster Men” plot itself is a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to the next installments of this story, and seeing how this new Bat-family continues to operate.