There’s a lot to catch up on this morning, as DC Comics released the opening two chapters of the first Rebirth-era crossover, along with a new book focusing on DC’s Big Three and Big Blue takes a day off.

This edition of Subway Shorts covers Batman 7 and Nightwing 5, the first two chapters of “Night of the Monster Men.”

Batman 7
Written by Steve Orlando and Tom KIng 
Art by Riley Rossmo

Nightwing 5
Written by Steve Orlando and Tim Seeley
Art by Roge Antonio 

We’re going to discuss the first two chapters of “Night of the Monster Men” all together, as the first crossover of the DC Rebirth era really did read like one fluid story. The cohesion of the two issues clearly can be credited to having writer Steve Orlando act as a showrunner and unifying force for the event. It’s a much better strategy than having three various writers doing their own thing under the umbrella of a crossover.

The story opens with Batman and his companions still mourning, not just the apparent death of Red Robin Tim Drake (“taken off the board” in Detective Comics 940) but also of the new hero Gotham, who died at the end of the “I Am Gotham” tale in the main Batman book. So when a huge storm threatens Gotham City, Batman devotes the team’s resources to keeping everyone in the city alive.

This would probably be a fairly basic standalone tale if not for the dead men turning into giant monsters and targeting Batman. The Caped Crusader takes down one of them by exploding a glider into it, which was a great visual.

The monsters are being unleashed by Professor Hugo Strange, hitting Batman and his allies while still recovering from their losses. As his friends try and talk Batman out of doing something that would get himself killed, he keeps pushing his limits in an attempt to make sure no one else dies.

Gotham Girl, still psychologically scarred from the attack by the Psycho Pirate that led to her brother’s death, was the most intriguing character in these two issues. Stuck in the cave, being able to hear all the people being hurt by the Monster Men, it was clear they were building to her breaking out of her forced sabbatical to try and help. Getting right to that moment by the end of the second issue was an unexpected but welcome event.

With everything that’s happened in Batman, Detective Comics and Nightwing – the three books involved in he crossover – since Rebirth began, it’s nice to get a little breather before they go into their next events. The third chapter of “Night of the Monster Men” hits in Detective Comics 941, out this week, and then we repeat the process next week for the second half of the six-issue crossover.

So far, the story is worth a read, and given the track record the writers are establishing since Rebirth started, we should expect an exciting end to things here.