BATMAN AND THE SIGNAL #2 / Story: Scott Snyder and Tony Patrick Writer: Tony Patrick/ Artist: Cully Hamner / Colorist: Laura Martin / Letterer: Deron Bennett / Publisher: DC Comics / Release Date: February 21, 2018
Previously on Batman and the Signal, we left with Duke investigating a strange series of teens getting meta-human abilities similar to his own with the help of his girlfriend Izzy and his former ‘We Are Robins’ partner Riko. With his new suit and hide-out courtesy of Bruce Wayne, The Signal sets out to the still under construction Arkham’s Juvenile wing to investigate, only to be caught in a trap by the mysterious Null.
The story begins with Duke reminiscing about the history of Gotham’s skyscrapers and his father retelling a poignant story of a time he worked on the one the cities last shadow crews. His father said
“The daylight exposes the work done under the cover of night. Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, it shows us everything.”
Duke acknowledges that his father knew that light meant truth.
It is clear from the Duke’s previous findings and this fight that his light-based powers are somehow linked to these meta-humans. Null goes so far as to credit his powers to Duke and even calls Duke the “key to the dial.”
Duke is able to gain the upper hand using tech from his belt and aid from Izzy and Riko. The meta-humans return to their cells but appear to “shut-down” as if being controlled. Duke tries to reason with Detective Aisi but is forced to make a quick escape from the Arkham wing. Duke spends the remainder of the issue in diffusing his internal conflicts and conflicts between characters all while continuing to investigate the connection between the meta-humans and now himself.
Despite being called Batman and The Signal, this is clearly a Duke Thomas story and that is okay. The beauty of this book is Duke’s moments of self-discovery. I have loved the character of Duke since his arrival in We Are Robin. It is exciting to see the character get a starring role in a ‘semi’ stand-alone series since his introduction.
This story explores how Duke fits into the Batman family and into his own shoes. This second issue forces Duke to take a closer look at himself and his own internal struggles and how they fit within the complicated world of Gotham crimefighting. Duke’s light-based powers, color scheme, and overall being more of a morning person directly contrast with Batman’s ‘I am the Dark’ persona. The Signal being a daytime crime fighter make this book different from other Batman-related titles DC Comics currently has.
I greatly enjoyed art and lettering on this book and the frequent use of the color yellow particularly as Duke’s thought bubbles. Obviously, the theme of light is a major player with this hero and this book so seeing it heavily used in the art and lettering was a delight. The scenes Hamner created between The Signal and Null were beautifully depicted and effectively illustrated the dichotomy between the two characters and their power sets.
However, it does both disappoint me and concern me this book is only three issues. This book lands on a fairly large cliff-hanger and I worry how rushed the final issue will be. I hope we get a solo book for Duke or that at least he gets a bigger recurring role in a future book following this mini-series. I would love to see Tony Patrick take the reins of this character more in the future.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 Gotham sunrises
In addition to writing and tweeting into the void, Elizabeth Garcia enjoys applying ethical and political theory to modern comics while wearing leggings and drinking wine with her cat on her beat-up couch.