And we're back with issue two (am I allowed to call columns "issues?" I'm doing it anyway) of Gotham Gazette, your one-stop shop for all things Bat-Family, and we've got a whole bunch to talk about this time around. I know it's Batman Day, but like, come on! September is kind of just Batman Month at this point, right?
Bruce's struggles with his bad breakup are continuing, which is probably extremely unsurprising to you (and the entire population of Gotham, let's be real) so Dick Grayson has decided to take some direct action in BATMAN #54, which hit shelves back at the start of the month. Of course, we've known for a while that Dick's been filling in as Batman while Bruce handled his therapy-by-jury-duty in the past handful of issues, so having him show up like this wasn't so much a surprise, but what came after kinda was. It turned into a full-blown look at Dick and Bruce's history together as Bruce tried valiantly (but futilely) to convince Dick he was fine.
He's definitely not fine.
But that's okay, because as it turns out, Dick Grayson knows a thing or two about not being fine.
This is an issue where you'll want to come for the great father/son bonding, but stay for the Bat-Family Easter eggs. Keep your eyes peeled for some fun references like Alfred's cucumber sandwiches (they come up a lot), an incident with a chandelier (yes, it really happened) and a certain football player who is always fumbling the ball (a Tom King story special). Also, if you're really in the mood for even more Dick and Bruce emotion, allow me to take a second and recommend one of my all-time favorite stories: BATMAN: PRODIGAL.
This one's kind of vintage, so you'll have to be cool with some early ’90s Bats to really appreciate it, but it's all about the first time Dick takes up the Cowl (on the heels of KNIGHTFALL and that whole debacle). I won't spoil it, but it ends with some really touching heart-to-heart moments that need to be appreciated by everyone. Seriously. Check it out.
In other complicated, dad-related news, something that may have been flying under your radar if you don't venture away from the main line of Bat-books is the conclusion of the epic “Deathstroke vs. Batman” storyline that's been marching through Deathstroke's solo series for the past few months! It's...well, okay, it's considerably less light-hearted than Dick trying to cheer Bruce up, but what it lacks in cute father/son bonding moments, it makes up for in some incredible deep dives into the ways family works for men like Bruce and Slade.
Oh, and it turns out Damian? Maybe he's not actually Bruce's kid.
But if you want to know what happens with that particular bit of gossip, you're going to have to actually read the story because you're not getting another peep out of me. That's right. I'm actually putting myself in self-imposed spoiler lockdown on this one. And besides, we've spent enough time in Dadville for this month. Let's see what else has been happening around town these past few weeks.
Batgirl's in rough shape after she faced off with Grotesque in BATGIRL #26, which is heralding some scary developments for Babs' future after he hit her with an intense shock that went directly into the chip in her spine that allows her to walk. Depending on when you started reading DC comics, Babs' mobility may be something you take a bit for granted. She was given an experimental surgery that returned the use of her legs back in 2011 at the dawn of the New 52, but prior to that, she'd spent close to twenty years as a wheelchair user after the Joker paralyzed her.
One of the prerequisites for being in the Bat-Family is a past that loves to come back to haunt you, and Babs is really no different. Even Grotesque is a rogue she thought she'd put behind her, now coming back to rattle what she thought she knew. But that said, out of everyone, Babs has shown the most resilience in the face of scary moments like this—she's really perfected the art of bouncing back from whatever is thrown at her. So, no matter what happens, I'm pretty confident she's going to come out the other side on top, even if she has to take some hard knocks along the way.
And speaking of hard knocks, have you seen the cover for NIGHTWING #50? Because it looks like the tough times are about to be a family affair. See you in a month!