By Cat Wyatt
All good things must come to an end, and thus we’re at the end of the short run for Batman and the Signal. Everything has been leading up to the point, so I know I’m not the only one that’s been looking forward to it. Still, I’ll miss our daylight vigilante and all he stands for.
This issue starts off with the city in chaos – teenagers are spontaneously getting meta powers all over the place, and it’s causing quite the mess. All of the bat family is out in full force trying to help contain everything, but it’s quite a task. The only team member missing is Signal, who’s apparently running a bit late.
Like a true hero, the Signal arrives just in the nick of time. Granted, not even Batman seems to know what’s actually going on, but still, at least they’re trying. Without knowing the cause of the spontaneous meta creations there’s nothing they can do but try to contain the mess.
That’s where Signal comes in; this is the case he’s been investigating, and he’s become personally wrapped up in it, though that part was a little bit unwillingly. Signal knows that Gnomon is behind this, and he even has a theory about where he is. Unfortunately his theory on the location is counter to Batman’s theory, so they’re going to have to split up (while everyone else stays behind to continue dealing with the new metas).
Based on the little we know about Gnomon, and Batman’s experience with other villains, one of them is right and will find Gnomon, while the other will find themselves in a trap. Needless to say both options are risky, though Batman seems more concerned about the idea of Signal coming across Gnomon on his own. Which is understandable, I think.
Since Signal thinks that Gnomon is in the solar arc needle, that’s where he’s heading to. On his way Signal comes across Detective Aisi, whom obviously decides to come along and help Signal. Have I mentioned how much I adore her? It’s so cool that she’s decided to work with Signal rather than against him. I can see a detective being torn by this, so it’s nice to see her feeling confident in her decision.
Obviously, we all know that Signal is heading towards the real location of Gnomon (it’s clear that he’s been guided here, almost like Gnomon wants to be found), while Batman is heading towards the trap. I’m not worried about Batman – he can totally handle whatever is thrown at him. Being a secondary concern to a villain isn’t nearly as dangerous as being the primary, in most instances.
Things get a little weird once Duke finds Gnomon. Detective Aisi is taken down by some sort of mental attack, while Gnomon continues talking to Duke telepathically (I love that his speech bubbles are black with white font). Gnomon is claiming quite a lot while offering no proof. He claims that he’s hundreds of years old, that he’s creating the metahumans intentionally via his machine (okay, that bit is pretty obvious)…and that he’s Duke’s real father. Um. While that one is probably true, it’s still pretty awful to think about. Poor Duke has already lost his parents to the Joker’s toxins (they’re not dead, but they are trapped in eternal laughter), so the idea that the man being tortured like that isn’t his biological father, but the man that chose to take him in and raise him as his own…I don’t know if I’m touched or heartbroken by that thought. It certainly doesn’t make things easier on Duke. So for Duke’s sake, I hope that Gnomon is lying – trying to get into his head. Um, you know, other than the telepathy that is.
Two things are immediately obvious to Duke, thanks to his detective training courtesy of Batman. One; he needs to destroy the generator to stop the metahuman creation. Two; the weak spot in Gnomon’s suit is the circular face plate (what is that even about? It looks cool but can’t even remotely be practical).
Detective Aisi does get a chance to have a shining moment, which is pretty cool, and obviously, in the end, everything ends up getting wrapped up. However, we were never really given any solid answers on a few of the issues. Such as Duke’s lineage. Sure, he could probably do a blood test, but that would tell him whether the man that raised him was his biological father or not. Without a sample to compare to, he’ll never know for sure if Gnomon is. And I personally would be happier not knowing that truth, something which I think Duke agrees with.
This was an interesting series on the whole. At first, I didn’t love the idea of one of the bat family having meta abilities – it’s so unlike everything they’ve done before. But, the more I read about Duke, the more I liked him, so by the time this issue came around I’m finding myself actually quite sad to see him go. I hope he ends up getting his own spinoff series, not that we need another bat series to read (though really, is there such a thing as too many series? …yeah there probably is).
I love Signal’s character design, as well as many of the secondary characters in this series. Detective Aisi’s arm is amazing, as is her overall look. Even for a plainclothes detective, she stands out more often than not (though obviously not to the same level as a masked vigilante would).
Batman and the Signal #3