After a one issue stint on Streets of Gotham number seven, Paul Dini again takes a break from the title and hands the writing duties over to guest writer Mike Benson. Benson gives us part one of the two part story arc titled, “Hardcore Nights”. Dustin Nguyen remains to be as good as they get, and Mike Benson writes a shockingly excellent story.
Paul Dini’s absence from the title has proven to me that other writers should be taking a crack at this title. Streets of Gotham #8 has answered my prayers, give me a Batman book that is hard-boiled and utilizes Batman’s detective expertise. Benson focuses on the relationship between Batman and Gordon, and their ability to work together to solve a crime. Issue number eight is a simple, yet extremely entertaining issue that remains visually stunning.
Issue number eight opens with the murder of a former professional criminal. Batman and Gordon review the body at the morgue and go through the man’s file. They come to the conclusion that the murder was personal, and Batman discreetly comments that maybe this killer is doing him and the police a favor. I thought Benson’s dialogue between Gordon and Batman was well constructed throughout the issue. Batman suspects a former criminal who may have killed the deceased out of revenge. We learn that this criminal, Charlie had nothing to do with the killing and Batman lets him off. Again, Benson writes Dick’s Batman very straight forward and to the point. I often found myself almost thinking that this was Bruce because I thought Benson wrote a very grim and gritty Batman. The next night, another body is found slain in a warehouse. Gordon and Batman connect the two murders together and learn that these men must have ties to one another. After doing some sleuthing, Batman comes across a membership card to a “sex club” belonging to the second victim. Dick realizes that this is the connection between the victims and the murder and decides to do a little undercover work. A fairly simple plot that is written so well. Under a different persona, Dick heads into this exotic night club and learns of all the powerful people that belong to it. After telling an escort that he likes to “spice things up”, she introduces him to one of her colleagues. Dick and the escort head out of the club when she is attacked by a former boyfriend. Dick begins to choke him when the escort steps in and breaks up the altercation. Dick and her enter a limo and head for a hotel room. The ex-boyfriend takes the bait and follows them to their room. However, Dick is anticipating this and expecting a little disturbance. This issue ends with the ex-boyfriend kicking the hotel room door in with a gun in his hand. I anxiously await the conclusion to this wonderful two part story.
The Manhunter co-feature picks off where the last ended. Batman and Robin prevent Kate from inflicting anymore damage upon Two-Face. However, she pushes him off the ledge distracting the caped crusader and allowing her to escape. After Batman and Robin rescue Harvey, we cut to the Gotham court room. We also learn that Harvey plans on defending himself in the case, which Kate only naturally disputes. However, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham provides the court with evidence that while the Harvey part of his’ personality is in control, he is completely capable of defending himself. Kate then has a sit down with Jane Doe offering her a deal. Kate offers Jane that if she testifies against Two-Face, Doe’s sentence will reduced to life instead of the death penalty. Doe tells Kate that she’ll have to think about which leads to their discussion ending. The issue ends with a guard leading Jane Doe to Two-Face’s cell, where we learn that he has a deal for Jane as well. We will have to wait to find out in the next issue of Streets of Gotham.
For me, this was the strongest issue of the series. Please Mike Benson, write more Batman material! Benson is considered to be an up and coming writer who has a lot of potential. I could see why in issue number eight. Dialogue is always the number two thing I look for in a comic, besides plot, and this issue was well plotted and the dialogue was clean and straight to the point. This is a quick and fun detective story that is very straight forward. I think Mike Benson should be given the book indefinitely if part two of this story arc is as good as part one was.
What can I say about Dustin Nguyen that I haven’t already said before? He is just such a consistent artist and is art has really grown on me over the last couple of years. I thought the cover he did was absolutely fantastic and the interiors, as always, just perfectly paneled. Dustin Nguyen is starting to become one of my favorite Batman artists.
Manhunter remains to be worth the extra dollar and I have become invested in this character for the first time. It’s extremely disappointing to me that this co-feature will not be around much longer. I think it fits perfectly with this title. Marc Andreyko writes Kate Spencer’s character really well. I also find his Two-Face to be very appealing. He continues to write an extremely solid back-up.
I absolutely love Jeremy Haun’s pencils. I think him with the combination of John Lucas on inks and Nick Filardi on colors is golden. You can never complain about the artwork in this back up. Just really good and consistent stuff.
Street of Gotham has finally found the solutions to some of its problems; Get Paul Dini off this book? I would much rather two and three part stories by a revolving panel of writers who get to team-up with Dustin Nguyen. However, this then brings me back to my question; why keep publishing this book? I thought issue number eight was a HUGE surprise and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. GO CHECK IT OUT!
Batman: Streets of Gotham:
Reviewed by Zfactor