Batman and The Signal #2
Story by Scott Snyder and Tony Patrick
Written by Tony Patrick
Pencils by Cully Hammer
Colors by Laura Martin
It has been roughly 6 weeks since issue #1 debuted, which is not that bad of a wait between issues but when you have titles that normally come out bi-monthly, waiting three times that can feel like an eternity. Sorry, this is supposed to be a 2 or 3 line blurb that catches everyone up and here I am whining.
Last issue Duke was coming to grips with his new powers and was beginning to understand that he has a playback button for life allowing him to witness events that have occurred in the space he is occupying. His nemesis is a guy called Null, who thanks to the events of Metal and the eruption of Challenger Mountain has the ability to generate and manipulate negative space to wield it as a weapon. Don’t ask me to explain that as science makes my head hurt! In any case, just know there is a link between them, you know…light vs dark – that old chestnut.
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Duke is still in danger at the start of this issue as Null and his cronies are ready to lay a smackdown while he is prone on the ground. Null, in classic moustachio villain style, lets out a few details about the man behind all of this and what Duke is. Null refers to Duke as the Key to the Dial and that they owe their powers to him, that he is the reason they have their new abilities.
Detective Aisi soon turns up and Null’s mysterious leader telepathically tells him and his squad to return to their holding cells. In all the confusion, Duke manages to take off but he decides to meet up with Aisi later and suggests they form a partnership of sorts to get to the bottom of why all this crazy stuff is happening in a newly developed part of Gotham. Their best guess is that is that they are all being exposed to something localized but then Duke sees what’s happening as he looks out onto the development from the building he’s in. The windows being used throughout the new development are filtering the sunlight and supercharging the photons that are beamed down onto the populace in that area.
Duke erroneously believes that Bruce is behind this because he was already aware of Duke’s abilities and thinks he is the catalyst for what is happening. However when he confronts him, a voice begins to speak to him telepathically, announcing himself as Gnomon, the eternal light and he wants Duke to come into the light and face the truth that Batman has been hiding from him – that Gotham is his.
Snyder and Patrick’s story is a little confusing to follow if I’m honest and it requires you to re-read a few pages to let all the sciency stuff sink in. I was a little intrigued by the name Gnomon (the mastermind), so I looked it up online and found that it is the raised part of a sundial that casts the shadow to allow us to know the time. In ancient Greek, it literally means “one that knows or examines”. Considering that Null refers to Duke as the Key to the dial, it seems that Gnomon needs Duke to do something and I guess we will find out in the final issue.
The art in this issue is consistent with the previous and is still a little raw and unrefined for my palette but it does suit the grittiness of the town’s locale and kind of transports you into the neighborhood that is being depicted but it is not doing it for me and does impact my final score, but hopefully it does not put you off from reading it because the plot is interesting enough in my opinion. Unfortunately it is another 6 weeks before we will get the final part so hang in there everyone.
This mini-series was one of the more eagerly anticipated titles spinning out of Metal. The delays between issues does not help but the scope of Duke’s powers and how he is connected to others that have also developed abilities should be enticing enough for you to forgive these long waits.