Review by: keith7198

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Avg Rating: 3.9
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Art and covers by TREVOR MCCARTHY
Variant covers by DUSTIN NGUYEN

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

“Batman Gates of Gotham” has been a fantastic mini-series from the minds of Kyle Higgins, Scott Snyder, and Ryan Parrott. It’s been a Gotham City history lesson of sorts, looking back at the founding families of Gotham, the politics behind the city’s growth and expansion, and a dark chapter from Gotham’s past coming to bear in the present day.  It’s been a brilliant series that’s continually gotten better from issue to issue. So no wonder I was disappointed to find issue #4 fell short of my expectations.

Throughout the series we’ve had two stories running side by side. One is a present day mystery while the other is from the early days of Gotham. Through some expert storytelling we’ve started to see how the two stories are interconnected. This issue follows that same model but doesn’t offer up near the engaging and immersing experience as the previous books. There is very little story progression in the present day sequences and with the exception of a couple of scenes, most of the pages revolve around a rather tame confrontation with “The Architect”.  As with every issue so far, the flashbacks are the better pages and offer a much more interesting and compelling story. But even the flashbacks in this issue don’t quite measure up to what we’ve been getting. Where they were carefully constructed and paced, here the story speedily plows ahead jumping from one scene to the next. All of this doesn’t mean it’s a terrible issue. It still captures the right tone and it sets up the finale nicely. We are fed some new information and The Architect is brought into a clearer light. There’s definitely entertainment value here.

Probably my biggest disappointment was the change in artists. I had grown to appreciate Trevor McCarthy’s work more and more with each book. Dustin Nguyen and Derec Donovan handle the art in this issue and it’s definitely a step backwards. Colorist Guy Major tries to give the issue the same look as the previous books but the mediocre and inconsistent pencils make it hard. The flashback pages don’t look as good, but there’s still enough of that cool, antique, period look to draw you in. The biggest problem lies with the present day pages. Some of the action panels are hard to decipher and at times I had no idea what was happening. Other present day panels look more like doodles than comic book art, coming across as lazy and uninspiring.

It seems like this is just a setup issue that puts everything in place for the upcoming big finale. The heart of the issue is still found in the flashbacks and there’s enough table setting to have me excited about the conclusion. But I really missed McCarthy handling the art and the present day story was a little lacking. But I have no reason to lose confidence. Even with this minor speed bump, this remains a high quality series and I hope it ends on a very strong note.

Story: 3 - Good
Art: 2 - Average


  1. I’m not even reading this issue now.  I’m gonna pick up #5 next month and just read the whole thing straight through this time hoping maybe I’ll like it better this time.  I should have trade waited this and picked up Dini’s Batman video game mini series instead, then by then I would have known better and just waited until the TPB was in the bargain box on Free Comic Day!!

  2. I’ve got to put up my review on Arkham City. It’s been a surprisingly fun book.

  3. Woulda been better if DNguyen just did the whole thing, but yea, missed McCarthy here too.  Wonder what happened, burn out, personal matter, was he reading all the criticisms on this site;)?

    You’re right on about this issue though, and didn’t get how Architect could defeat both Damian and Red Robin at the same time, I get that they’re tyring to establish him as a formidable foe, but didn’t make sense to me in my realism-oriented mind. 

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