Batman: Gotham Knights 4

The Bat becomes a social justice warrior

Bruce Wayne’s billionaire friends call on the Clown Prince of Crime for some help.

Batman: Gotham Knights 4
Written by Mark Russell
Pencils by Ryan Benjamin
Inks by Richard Friend
Colors by Alex Sinclair

With regular comic book storylines on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, DC Comics’ new daily digital initiative has been a godsend for digital comics readers who have been craving new content. And these books aren’t filler stories written and drawn by guys no one has ever heard of, either.

The latest issue of Batman: Gotham Knights has one of my favorite writers of the last few years attached to it, and it made me that much more excited to pick this issue up.

Mark Russell has written some of the most thoughtful comics for the publisher, with his 12-issue run on THE FLINTSTONES combined with the year-long WONDER TWINS making a serious impression. His ability to weave social commentary through comic book panels without coming off as overly preachy has been a welcome addition to my digital collection. Putting him on Batman doesn’t change his mode of operation, of course, and he does it while keeping the Dark Knight in character.

Russell’s first issue of Gotham Knights turns Batman into a social crusader, aghast by the actions of his billionaire friends in making the world a worse place. To try and make things right, Bruce Wayne dons the cape and cowl to scare his peers straight. But money makes people think they’re above the law, so the billionaire boys’ club calls on the Joker to take Batman out.

It’s a great one-and-done issue that shows Bruce Wayne using his particular brand of persuasion to make people see things his way. But making billionaires decide to follow the letter of the law is about as difficult as keeping one of his rogues behind bars at Arkham Asylum.

As I was reading the issue, I couldn’t help but wonder why Russell isn’t regularly writing DC Comics’ original social justice warrior, Oliver Queen. Hopefully, the next time the publisher announces a Green Arrow series, Russell’s name is attached.

Russell taking over writing duties on Gotham Knights makes this a must-read every week.