Writer Scott Snyder has really decided to take his in-depth look at Gotham City to the mat. Snyder will be taking over writing duties for Batman once the big reboot happens and he’s decided to deepen the mythos of the caped crusader the only way left, by attacking where he lives. Gotham City’s sordid history has been given broad strokes over the years but Snyder is going way back, literally starting from the foundation up. Gates Of Gotham #3 continues Snyder’s look at how Gotham was built and how greed and pride started the city down the path that Batman has worked so tirelessly to clean up. Snyder isn’t a fool; he knows that a straight story of building Gotham isn’t an easy sell, so he splits the story between the past and the present.
In the present Batman has his work cut out for him. Somebody is blowing up bridges in Gotham City and it somehow involves the cities founding families, The Cobblepots, The Elliots and The Waynes. The Dick Grayson version of Batman is up against it when the mystery involves not only Bruce’s family but also the Penguin and Hush. Dick calls in Tim Drake (Red Robin) and Cassandra (Black Bat) as well as Damien, who has some personal issues to work out with Cassandra. As all of this rages on Dick is trying to figure out why a man dressed in a bizarre costume is causing this destruction and when he’ll strike again.
While the present story is good, it’s obvious Snyder is really enjoying telling the tale of Gotham’s creation. It’s not easy to bring intrigue and excitement to a story that’s essentially about infrastructure, but Snyder manages it nicely. The crux of the tale surrounds two brothers Edward and Bradley. Edward is an idea man, the visionary architect that the Waynes, Cobblepots and Elliots turn to in order to build Gotham City. Bradley is the hands on guy, the builder and the realist. He sees the three families as rich egotists using his brother for their own gains. Inevitably there is a tragedy, one that will clearly effect the present day destruction. Snyder does a great job of making both stories interesting as well as making sure they intersect.
I’ll be honest; this is a Batman book for Batman lovers. People interested in seeing the Dark Knight use gadgets, beat people up and swing through Gotham won’t be all that interested in Gates Of Gotham. Those who love the Batman Universe and its history, the rich legacy and all the grooves and spins that make the Universe what it is will be captivated by this story. I admire Snyder’s sack to make the Wayne family more human then they’ve been shown in the past. They aren’t evil, but they are proud and that pride leads to some unsavory decisions, ones that lead Gotham down a darker path. This all seems part of Snyder’s bigger idea of developing who Batman is once the reboot happens. He’s done this already with Dick Grayson and the Gordon family. Now he’s doing it with Gotham itself.
I dig the art from Kyle Higgins. He manages to split his art the same way Snyder splits the story. The present day story has a modern noir look, while the past has stylized pencils reminiscent of art from storybooks of the 1800s. Usually I’m not a fan of thin pencils and delicate lines in a Batman story, but Higgins style works really well here. My only problem is that Higgins game Tim Drake a faux-hawk, which borderlines on unforgivable. Gates Of Gotham is another check in the win column for Scott Snyder and his crusade to be one of them not to take Batman at face value but rather add his own unique mark to the history of the Dark Knight.