Review: Detective Comics, Vol. 5: Gothtopia by John Layman, Jason Fabok (Illustrations)

Detective Comics, Vol. 5: GothtopiaDetective Comics, Vol. 5: Gothtopia by John Layman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Not all of the stories were stellar, but overall I liked Gothtopia.
Gordon gets his turn to tell his Zero Year story, and it’s one of the better issues in this thing. If you don’t feel like reading the whole volume, I’d still say check that one issue out. Very nicely done!

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The Man-Bat story is utterly forgettable. Kurt Langstrom has gone off the rails this time around to chase down his crazy ex-wife…Bat-Queen
*bangs head on desk*

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Moving on…
The Gothopia storyline finally gave me the answers to all of the questions I had about Batgirl’s alter ego Bluebell. I know I wasn’t the only one curious to find out why Babs was wearing white and living in Mayberry!

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For that alone I was excited to read those issues. Both Batgirl & Birds of Prey had crossovers with this…mysterious event, but you never really found out what exactly was going on.
Well, the bulk of the story happens here, people! And it’s not just Barbara Gordon who’s living an entirely different life…

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Scarecrow has released an alternate version of his usual Fear toxin, and now the entire city is seemingly living in a contented state of being. Everyone’s dreams are a reality, at least, in their own minds.
Why would Scarecrow want Gotham’s citizens to think that they live in a utopia?
Spoilery Reasons!
But thanks to Poison Ivy (and her immunity to toxins), Batman wakes up and starts fighting back. He also manages to rack up quite a few smooches from the ladies in this one…

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Unfortunately, there are massive plot holes in Gothtopia’s storyline.
Such as, when Scarecrow uses the Fear Toxin, each person sees their own individual fear. Then they sit in a corner pissing themselves, or spend the next few hours fighting invisible monsters (or people they ‘think’ are monsters).
How the fuck did he not only get everyone to hallucinate the same thing at the same time, but how were they all functioning in a society of nothing but dreams? How were they all seeing Batgirl as Bluebell, and Catwoman as Catbird.
It makes NO sense on any level!

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Alright, the next few issues are all to celebrate 75 years of Batman. So there are several different stories, and each of them varies in quality.
Brad Meltzer does a pretty cool re-imagining of the Joker’s origins in The Case of the Chemical Syndicate.

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Gregg Hurwitz does an excellent job showng Batman’s transformation over the years in Old School. To me, this was one of the better ones in the bunch.

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Better Days by Peter J. Tomasi was hands-down my favorite! There was a real joy to this story that the others just didn’t have. Batman is retired, and everyone is gathered around for his 75th birthday.

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Of course, as soon as they blow out the candles, trouble strikes!
Is Batman going to turn in early, or is he gonna sneak out and have one last hurrah?

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I loved that this one didn’t do the Lonely Old Bruce thing. This was the perfect story to celebrate this character and all of the fans who love him.

Rain is an extremely short story (4 pages) by Francesco Francavilla. I’m not even sure if I got the gist of it, but I think it shows Batman saving James Gordon Jr’s life. Maybe.

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Mike W. Barr writes The Sacrifice. The Spectre shows up and gives Bruce the opportunity to change the outcome of what happened in Crime Alley. Bruce never lost his parents & never became the Batman. Instead, he’s a happily married father. But what is a world without Batman like?
Well, it’s apparently gone to hell in a hand-basket.
Which version of his life will Bruce choose?

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Last up is Scott Snyder’sTwenty-Seven
Well, that was just shit. Total shit. The art was shit, the story was shit.
Shit.
Every 27 years there’s a new ‘Batman clone’ that pops out of the Bat-incubator. Each one has to choose if they want to serve the city as Batman, and a few years after the new guy pops up, the old one dies off. Of course, this is how the original Bruce engineered it, because he figured that you reached your maximum efficiency at 27.
*gag*

Depressing, bleak, and ugly.
Everything a Batman comic should be!

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It’s a volume of hit-or-miss stuff, but there was enough good to outweigh the bad, in my opinion. Gordon’s Zero Year & a few of the 75th anniversary issues are totally worth thumbing through this sucker!

View all my reviews

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