We start with the iconic Miller Batman suit being taken and used by someone else – something that I think is a hint of things to come. Then we get something that makes Mutant slang seem tame in comparison – text speek. Does…does anyone text like this? But then I’m one of those weirdos who text in complete sentences, so I’m probably not the best person to ask.
The reason for the text speak is two people talking about how one was being chased by the police and nearly died before he’s saved by “The Bat,” who beats down on the cops. While this comic while likely being made around 2014, when there were high profile cases like the death of Eric Garner were in the news, this is one of those stories that seem to have become more current, in a way.
Of course, the media is mixed on this, and the GCPD straight up doesn’t like it, especially one Commissioner Ellen Yindel, who has gone from the optimistic and youthful newbie to an older and cynical.
And we move from Gotham to the Amazons as Wonder Woman saves a village from a raging minotaur, complete with her baby boy strapped to her back, ala Lone Wolf and Cub, except he never breastfed the child in his care. Diana goes back to her Amazonian home which…is it in the Amazon? I’m really curious about what Diana’s story in this universe is more than I probably should be.
Diana asks about her daughter Lara and finds out she’s yet again out to try to break Superman out of his frozen shell in the Fortress of Solitude. Even though in DKSA not only was Superman seemingly ready to embrace being part of the world, but the Fortress was destroyed. Odd retcon, but I think they figured that most people wouldn’t notice (most people don’t reread DKSA) and it makes for a cool image, so…I’ll allow it.
Anyway, as Kara resigns herself to not getting through to her father yet again, she notices that the Bottled City of Kandor is calling for help. This will surely only end well!
We cut back to Ellen staring at the bat-signal that’s somehow still there after all this time, reflecting on why Batman would want to come back, and her thoughts are interrupted by her being told the police have Batman in their sights.
We then get this amazing art sequence of Batman eventually being taken down. I loved how the action and panel layout gets bigger when Batman has the advantage, but gets smaller when the police beats Batman down. Then, just as Batman seems to have beaten them all, Yindel comes in and finds out it’s definitely not the Batman we know, but Carrie Kelley. I really like how the art shows how Carrie tried to pad up the costume to look as much like him, but we can see telltale signs, like the gloves being too big and her softer facial features.
Then we end on the cliffhanger of Carrie saying that “Bruce Wayne is dead.” Even when this was coming out I was like “…Sure, Jan.”
Book One: The Atom
This one is said to be pencils by Frank Miller and inks by Klaus Janson, though I wonder if it’s more like breakdowns by Miller and finishes by Janson. While there’s definitely some Miller poses and movement in this, it feels a lot like Janson’s art, especially in the faces.
In this one, the Atom fights miniature dinosaurs in a smaller habitat…not sure why, maybe it’s just Palmer’s fun way to exercise. He ruminates on how while many of his costumed friends were able to put down the costumes, the Trinity couldn’t because in a way they were more their costumed identities than they were themselves. It kind of reminds me a little of the sort of “League within the League” concept that Brian Meltzer would later do for his Identity Crisis story. This plus Ray talking about his divorce with Jean made me wonder what a Frank Miller Identity Crisis would have looked like. Not sure if that would have been better or worse.
Anyway, Lara approaches Palmer with the Bottled City of Kandor to help them escape from the city and be their normal size again.
Overall I like the idea of these back-up stories. They tell stories outside of what we would have seen and gives insight to things that might have taken too much time and space for the regular issue. As I recall, the first floppy editions of this were really cool, where the back-up stories were actually smaller issues by themselves that were placed inside the prestige issues. Fun idea, I like when comics plays with the dimensions and do weird stuff like that.