Streets of Gotham has been an underrated title in the Batman stable. In many aspects this title eclipses the quality found in both the Batman and Detective Comics titles yet doesn’t get the amount of recognition it deserves, which is a shame because Streets definitely delivers all of the goods that one would want from a Bat-centric book. The only factor that has undermined this series to date is that there have been a few lapses in the story, as we have already had a couple of guest writers and it has broken up the larger story at hand.
Paul Dini delivers a masterful tale that focuses on two aspects in particular; the continuing emergence of Damian as a surprisingly engaging Robin, and the origin of the mysterious character Abuse who has been stalking this series since its inception. Robin has really grown as the young sidekick to Batman and his awesomeness shines through in his actions here. Damian takes charge and goes out on his own as he surreptitiously ditches Batman. He runs into a young kid around his age named Colin and the two run into a fellow named Buddy, who is actually a “talent” scout for Zsasz and his Fight Club-esque organization.
Robin has a showdown with Zsasz in the arena and is shocked to find that his attempts to inflict hurt on his opponent prove fruitless. The fight scene is showcased extremely well in both writing and art. The reactions of Robin as he realizes that he has been cut is executed in such a fantastic manner.
Another highlight of the issue is the aforementioned Abuse, as we learn more about this enigmatic character through a captivating origin. Paul Dini has brought a potentially great character into the fold and, hopefully, he will stick around for a good long time. I look forward to seeing how Abuse will fit into the grand scheme of things with Batman and Robin over the course of time.
One of the most impressive features is the inner monologue of both Robin and Abuse. The writer has a tremendous feel for these characters and the city of Gotham and it shines through in the thoughts of these individuals. The dynamic duo function best when they are dealing with street elements with an underlying mystery driving the story and Paul Dini incorporates these into this title with ease. Of course, the beautiful art tandem of Dusting Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs serve as a wonderful compliment to the story.
Batman: Streets of Gotham constantly impresses and this issue is no different. This book will be right up the alley for those in search of a Batman story that lends itself more to the street and mystery elements that make Batman and his little corner of the universe such a compelling venue.
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