The “Knightmares” story arc is going on a short break as Batman will be featured in a crossover with The Flash series. This is the second time the Batman and The Flash comic books crossover since Rebirth started. The first crossover between the two comics, “The Button,” revolved around the Comedian’s button that Batman found in the Batcave. This time around the crossover will be following the aftermath of Wally West’s death in Heroes In Crisis. There were a lot of deaths in Heroes In Crisis but no bigger that Wally West, how just returned when Rebirth began in 2016. How will Joshua Williamson have Batman and Flash deal with the fallout of Heroes In Crisis together? Let’s find out with Batman #64.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Guillem March
Colorist: Tomey Morey
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In the Batcave Batman is shown about to do an autopsy on Flash (Wally West) but is unable to cut into him. He instead puts his tools down and walks away.
Sometime later the Justice League are fighting the Justice League of Amazo. Though the fight is tough the Justice League are able to to get the upperhand on all of the Amazos thanks to their teamwork. As they do so Batman has a hallucination picturing Superman as Commander Steel and when taking out the Amazo-Flash he pictures Sanctuary.
After the Amazos are all destroyed the Justice League sit down to rest since this was their fifth emergency they have dealt with together in that week alone. While most of them are catching their breath Batman and Flash take off to continue their investigation on the tragedy at Sanctuary, of which they’ve hit a major wall on when it comes to leads.
At the Flash Museum in Central City someone attacks the dome tower on the building, causing it to collapse with people inside it. Some of the falling debris causes the large Wally West Flash statue outside to collapse. Batman is able to save people that were standing below the falling statue before it lands on them.
Batman goes inside the museum and finds no one inside. When he comes across a picture of Wally saving people he pictures Wally’s dead body at Sanctuary.
Batman hears someone behind him and throws a batarang. The Flash (Barry Allen) catches the batarangs. The Flash comments that he is surprised he was able to sneak up on Batman since he normally can’t do that. Batman tells Flash that whoever attacked the museum escaped.
The Flash says their job is not done. He then proceeds to hand out pizza to everyone outside the museum while smiling to make sure everyone stays positive.
Flash then goes back inside the museum to investigate the crime scene. Batman offers to help with the investigation just like they used to in the old days.
This reminds them both of when they teamed up when Dick Grayson and Wally West were Robin and Kid Flash, respectively. We see Robin and Kid Flash having fun around the Batcave after they took down Grundy. Batman comments that Robin and Kid Flash don’t know how close they came to getting hurt. Flash tells Batman that the boys get in trouble enough on their own and to let them have fun together.
Back in the present Flash, who admits he is exhausted from all their cases and adventures with the Justice League, tells Batman to stop lying to him. Flash demands Batman to tell him who is responsible since he knows Batman wouldn’t have come to Central City without knowing who is responsible for the attack.
Batman admits that because of how busy he is with what is going in Sanctuary on top of other issues he almost missed small attacks that have been escalating recently in Gotham City. Batman reveals that the person behind those attacks is Gotham Girl, who Flash remembers fighting alongside her brother, Gotham. Batman goes on to talk about how he eventually benched Gotham Girl since her powers had an expiration date and she would die like her brother if she continued to use them. Batman says that they need to find Gotham Girl before she hurts someone and dies because she is using her powers again.
Elsewhere Gotham Girl already knows that Flash is now involved but says neither he nor Batman will stop her in saving her brother. It is then shown that Gotham Girl has her brother strapped to a device that is pumping sort of chemical into him. End of issue.
The Good: Batman #64 is a very oddly timed comic book. Not only is it causing the “Knightmares” arc to take a break but it also taking place while Heroes In Crisis is still going on. With those stories still going, on top of what is happening in The Flash ongoing series, it is tough to get fully invested in the story. That said, there is a lot here that Joshua Williamson gets right which helps the quality of the overall story being told.
As a compliment to everything going on in Batman, The Flash, Justice League and Heroes In Crisis this issue works extremely well. Williamson effectively puts over the idea that the entire Justice League are being stretched thin at the moment. Even with us only seeing them take on the Justice League of Amazos, the way the fight went down got across how they are starting to feel exhausted. Even in a short period of reprieve after the battle is valuable time for all of them since it is getting rarer for them to get such a time.
What this scene also did a great job in showing how close of a bond the Justice League have. They’ve fought so many battles together that they do are able to be relax enough to talk with each other like friends. This allowed the fact that both Batman and Flash rushed off right after the battle with the Justice League of Amazos stand out even more. Given everything these two are dealing with they are unable to turn off their superhero mode. This speaks to where Batman and Flash are currently with their state of mind.
Williamson does a good job throughout Batman #64 framing why both Batman and Flash are unable to turn it off is because of their background as detectives. Hitting a wall in the case around Sanctuary, especially how personal of a matter it is, makes it even harder to deal with. Because afterall, these two pride themselves on being able to find answers no matter what the case is. The fact that it has taken so long to find any substantial leads only makes their emotions continue to run on high.
Which also goes to highlight how differently both work in the field. While Batman never shuts off his gruff demeanor Flash is different. No matter how serious of a case is Flash is a guy that wants to make sure those he is saving feel as safe as possible. Even if it means doing something like getting pizzas and putting up a fake happy smile he’ll do it. He understands that he is the light in the darkness with how the public sees others.
This difference made how Flash was able to go back to his serious, detective mode even more impressive. With everything that is going on he does not have time to play Batman’s normal game of secrets. They have so much on their respective plates they can’t waste time right now. Flash calling Batman out on this made the whole scene in the destroyed museum even stronger.
It especially helped continue the overall theme of the weight both characters are carrying. Batman revealing that there have been smaller attacks that he has been letting slip by made the fact that this involves Gotham Girl even more important. This shows that right now is possibly the best time for villains to strike since DC’s greatest heroes are distracted with other time sensitive cases. The way Williamson frames it is well executed because this isn’t because Batman or other heroes are sloppy. It is because there are only 24 hours in the day to do so much.
With everything that is going on it was great to see Williamson use Batman and Flash’s past with each other to help further the story in “The Price of Justice.” Going back to one of their team-ups when they had Dick Grayson and Wally West as their partners as Robin and Kid Flash was a nice reprieve from everything. Williamson used this flashback properly to show us a time when things were brighter for both Batman and Flash. At the same time, this scene was a reminder of how much what has happened in the present to both Dick and Wally has affected both of them in big ways.
Guillem March turned in some great, big event style artwork for Batman #64. March’s artwork matched the style we are seeing over in Heroes In Crisis. This helps in putting over how closely it is tied to that event. And with how this issue involved telling the reader how much weight Batman and Flash are carrying March puts that over with how he drew both characters. He was able to get across that both characters have a lot on their mind. Even while they were talking you could tell by their respective expressions they were also thinking of their other cases and events that have happened in their life.
The Bad: One of the things that did hold Batman #64 back was the odd timing of this story. We were just getting into the big “Knightmares” was getting after the reveal in Batman #63 this crossover story halts one of Tom King’s biggest stories to date. And with how “The Price of Justice” closely ties into Heroes In Crisis it may have been better for that event to wrap up before we had this crossover. Especially with what was revealed about Wally in Heroes In Crisis #5 tackling his death now makes the timing of this crossover feel questionable.
The involvement of Gotham Girl also felt extremely random. The reveal that she is the villain of the story was more head scratching rather than surprising. Last we saw her she was with Bane as she became another person in his plot to take down Batman. Seeing Gotham Girl back and now in a psychotic state of mind feels like a waste of her character development in Batman thus far. There is a story in between her last appearance with Bane and this story.
And given that Williamson pushed the idea of how thinly both Batman and Flash are currently being stretch this would’ve been a good opportunity to have other villains from their respective Rogues Gallery step up. This timing could’ve actually helped villains like Two-Face, Mad Hatter, Solomon Grundy, Mirror Master or Gorilla Grodd to be elevated. With how the flashback mentioned Grundy’s name specifically it would’ve made a good call back to Batman and Flash’s early adventures and what has happened in the present.
Overall: Batman #64 provides a good start to a story that is acting as a tie-in to Heroes In Crisis. Joshua Williamson is able to highlight how much weight is on Batman and Flash’s shoulders with all the events they have been involved with the last year. If it wasn’t for the timing and odd choice in villain for this story, Batman #64 would’ve been a much stronger read.