The crossover between Batman and The Flash, “The Price,” has been some of the best Heroes In Crisis related content thus far. A big part of why “The Price” has worked so far is how Joshua Williamson has explored the current standing of Batman and Flash’s relationship. While that has been a driving force for this crossover the plot around Gotham Girl has been hit-or-miss thus far. Certain aspects of Gotham Girl have been well handled while others have been rushed. As we start the second half of this crossover will Batman and Flash survive the plot Gotham Girl has set up for them? Let’s find out with Batman #65.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Guillem March
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Gotham Girl thinks of an origin for herself in which she is with her family walking down an alley. When a mugger attacks them a young Claire quickly knocks the mugger’s head off with her strength, something her parents and brother celebrate.
In the present Gotham Girl thinks harder about how she wants an origin like Batman and other heroes even as she feels her body breaking down.
Elsewhere Batman and Flash continue to fighting the Gotham and Gotham Girl clones. As they fight Flash asks Batman if Gotham Girl was at Sanctuary. Batman says he has no idea how Gotham Girl got her hands on a Sanctuary mask.
Batman then tells Flash they need to force the clones to use up their powers until they burn out. Batman gets on Flash’s back and they start running to force the Gotham and Gotham Girl clones to push their powers to the max. Maxing out their powers all of the Gothams and Gotham Girls clone burn out and die.
Batman mentions that someone is trying to use the crisis with Sanctuary to turn them against each other. Flash says that Batman is responsible for this as yet another one of his mysteries has bitten all of them in the ass. Batman tries to stop Flash before he races off to stop Gotham Girl as she is his fight. Flash says Central City needs him and runs off anyways.
Over at the Central City Police Department Iris digs through Barry’s stuff and finds a picture of the two of them with Wally. Iris plans on writing Wally’s obituary before anyone else.
As Iris is walking out of the building Gotham Girl suddenly comes crashing through the roof. Flash arrives seconds later and tells Gotham Girl to stop, while also making sure the injured are taken to a safe stop. Flash tells his story of how he knows if he told Wally to not follow in his footsteps he would have become a hero anyways because Wally was better than him. Flash then tells Gotham Girl no matter what she does her brother won’t return.
Gotham suddenly shows up as Gotham Girl reveals her brother is back.
Elsewhere Batman rushes to help Flash
Back in Central City as he fights Gotham, Flash notices Iris nearby. This distraction allows Gotham to punch Flash across town. Gotham then grabs an injured Flash and reveals he was also a fan of Flash.
Suddenly Gotham’s body starts reacting oddly to. His body starts to melt. Gotham tells Gotham Girl he is scared as he dies.
Flash tells Gotham Girl they can help her. Gotham Girl does not listen as she talks about how it must’ve been to late for the Venom to affect her brother’s dead body.
As she goes to strike Flash and Iris, Batman arrives and hits Gotham Girl with some explosives to get her attention. Batman says he knows he did wrong by Gotham Girl but wants to show her the path of being a hero the right way. He asks Gotham Girl to tell him where she got the Venom serum.
Gotham Girl says it does not matter and injects herself with a vile of Venom. Gotham Girl says she is willing to pay any price to be a hero and avenge those she loves. Her entire body is then enveloped in an overpowering light.
The Good: “The Price” continues to be a frustrating crossover story to read. On one hand the dynamic between Batman and Flash is the driving force behind what has made the story interesting. But on the other hand the entire plot around Gotham Girl just continues to fall apart from the weight of being the key part of why this crossover is happening. Unfortunately for Batman #65 the latter ends up overwhelming the issue, making this the worst chapter of this crossover.
Thus far “The Price” has shown us a Flash that is beyond his breaking point emotionally. He is done with all that has happened and is not holding back anymore. This mentality has made his interactions with Batman stand out even more as he is not holding back his thoughts anymore. It’s not a Barry Allen we are used to seeing but completely understandable given what has happened in Heroes In Crisis. Batman’s reaction to all this is also within the character he has been developed as at this point in the DCU continuity.
The sub-plot with Iris West is also continuing to be well handled. Through Iris’ action we are seeing how much an impact Wally and the deaths at Sanctuary is having. Given that Wally just returned to her life only to be taken has made things even tougher. How this ends up affecting where her character will go after this crossover is done is a very interesting sub-plot for Williamson to continue to explore.
Guillem March artwork was once again phenomenal in Batman #65. March delivers artwork that makes this crossover feel like a big event. He does a great job showing how fast Flash is moving and the impact of punches that are being thrown. The slower character focused moments are also well drawn to get the most out of the characters state of mind during those scenes. All of March’s excellent work helps elevate the story.
The Bad: As well written as Batman and Flash are it did not help mask the fact there was almost zero forward progress made in Batman #65. Everything that happened in Batman #65 came across as recycled dialogue from the first two parts of “The Price” crossover. It is not until the final few pages that we make any progress for the characters involved. Even when the ending of the issue pushes to the conclusion of this crossover it still felt as though we moved only a few inches forward.
One of the biggest problems that causes this lack of progress apparent was the lack of impact for the early fight with the Gotham and Gotham Girl clones. At no point did Williamson attempt to make these clones to be anything other than mindless zombies. There was zero character to any of the clones to actually make us feel bad for them. They were nothing but cannon fodder that gave Batman and Flash the opportunity to punch for a few pages.
This fact only spotlights how there is very little emotional resonance Gotham Girl’s plot has. Her not showing any sort of care for clones that are basically her and her brother made it tough to care about this element of the story. Without that emotional connection from Gotham Girl to all the clones burning out and dying it.
Because there was a lack of care for how we should feel for the clones the return of Gotham ended up falling flat. The character was around for just a few minutes and then was gone again. There was nothing to the character’s return that came across as being a meaningful part of the story. It was just used as more torture for a character in Gotham Girl, who has not been given much material to develop in a way that the reader would care how things turned out for her.
Also by going down the route of Gotham Girl being crazy all the depth her character had at the end of her last big story arc has disappeared. As I mentioned in past reviews of this crossover, there is a story the continues to feel like is missing between this and her last appearance. The character’s emotional state has turned her into nothing more than another crazy villain.
What’s hurt Gotham Girl’s story even more is that Williamson is keeping the Bane part of the story a secret. There are very little details as to who is helping Gotham Girl and how everything that has happened is being manipulated behind the scenes. The lack of development on this sub-plot is extremely concerning. With only one issue left in this crossover the feeling that all of that will be rushed is hanging over this story now.
Overall: Batman #65 was by far the worst issue of “The Price” crossover. There was very little progress made as Joshua Williamson recycled a lot of content from the previous two issues of this crossover. With how much potential a crossover between Batman and The Flash had in the midst of Heroes In Crisis it is extremely disappointing to see how things have turned out. The saving grace for this issue was all the excellent artwork by Guillem March.