BATMAN – GATES OF GOTHAM – Crimespree on Comics:

Publication date:  February 1, 2012

There are some stories that when brought up give a feeling of, “how has no one thought of this before?” It seems so simple. Like, why wouldn’t Sinestro have a yellow lantern corp and in this case, what’s the origin of Gotham City?

Writer Scott Snyder has been making a big name with his “Batman” over the past few years. He joined the team when Bruce Wayne “died” and put Dick Grayson at the forefront of the DCU. His run with Dick as Batman brought the character into his own in some of the most intense comics DC released recently. Currently, he’s writing the new “Batman” title in the DCnU, which is one of the top selling and most critically acclaimed books coming out. “Gates of Gotham” was published during Dick’s tenure as Batman and, thankfully, stays poignant even after the reboot.

In the beginning there were three families: The Waynes’, the Elliots’, and the Cobblepots’. All better know today as Batman’s family, Hush’s family, and The Penguin’s family. These were the heads of Gotham. Using their wealth they advanced the technology and architecture to make Gotham City “Gotham City.” They hired the Anders brothers to do what no one else could; make the buildings bigger, the bridges stronger, and make Gotham the most impressive city in the world. That story is told simultaneously with the destruction of said bridges. People are dying and Dick is doubting his ability by comparing himself to Bruce. The Bat-Clan of Robin, Red Robin and Black Bat need to find out who is destroying Gotham’s buildings, why and what connection is has to the past.

Synder crafts a wonderful time-spanning story. It’s proven he knows how to write Batman, both of them, and seeing Dick’s doubt as Batman works so well with what’s at stake in the story. With the backstory taking place in 1881, Synder wisely brings steampunk into the design with artist Trevor McCarthy. Trevor’s style is custom fit for steampunk. This computer designed art is cartoony but not to an extreme. It fits perfectly and adds a whole new level to an already excellent story. While it probably could have benefited from an extra issue to extend on some of it, the book is great take on the Gotham mythos and introduces a memorable new villain from concept to design. It’s just been released in trade paperback and well worth it for Batman fans.