Edward Nygma has thrown Gotham into pitch-black chaos and there are riots in the streets, but still the only thing on the GCPD’s mind is the apprehension of the vigilante known as Batman. Our story begins not in Gotham, but in the deserts of Nigeria, where a military convoy happens upon a mysterious hatch in the middle of the wasteland. Personally, I loved the way Scott Snyder blindsided me with this unpredictable opening. There definitely aren’t many clues as to how this could relate to Batman because after a brief glimpse at what is developing in Africa, the story shifts straight back to Gotham City where there are zeppelins flying over the titular “Dark City”.
What really got me, was the way Synder and Capullo brought back some classic imagery; the first of many terrific throwbacks to classic Batman iconography,. But the one that will surely get the most discussion and love or hatred is the appearance of the first Batmobile, which is the very thing the blimps are seeking out. I liked how it was used in the story and I really loved how Bruce is not yet the stoic figure we know and love today,; he really seems to enjoy driving his hot-rod in circles around the GCPD. From what I can tell, it looks like Snyder and Capullo tried to pay homage to the original Batmobile with great success. The car chase, like the trip to the desert, is but a small part of this story, which is actually quite the slow burn. The issues arrange all of the pieces on the board, but sets none of them into motion until the last part of the story,
The phenomenal artwork by Greg Capullo is what makes this all possible. If the book did not look so beautiful, I doubt that they could get away with such a long, drawn-out story without running the risk of boring the reader; but I actually welcome the slower pace when it’s so vibrantly depicted and full of narrative purpose. No page is wasted here, as both Bruce and Gordon toil away on their separate investigations. Bruce is hunting for The Riddler and sorting through suspects in an incredibly bizarre string of murders, while Gordon is looking into the same murder case and, it would appear, his lingering suspicions regarding Bruce Wayne. Gordon does indeed play a much bigger part in our story and it’s long overdue after our favourite moustachioed detective never made an impact on “Secret City” until the finale.