Paul Dini, one of the men responsible for Batman: The Animated Series, has a knack for angsty dude in pajamas (uhm, Batman).
With Dini’s work with Batman, he does not burden himself with the task of trying to do something new with the Caped Crusader. Batman is a constant. Dini’s work lets out an audible sigh as it acknowledges this, then surveys what there is to work with, rolls up its sleeves, and gets to business. What there is to work with is everything else, the city, the side characters, and the many cogs and pulleys that go into the machinery of the criminal world of Gotham.
This issue focuses on one of Dini’s newest characters and cog of the machinery, The Broker.
The Broker is such a fun, unique character but he would never be this cool if the book was so focused on stories where BATMAN MIGHT NOT SURVIVE THIS TIME (but then he does). The Broker is basically a morally ambiguous character who manages, buys, and sells all those rundown amusement parks, abandoned novelty toy warehouses, and giant greenhouses that Batman villains are so found of calling home. Though this issue is clearly the set up for a larger story involving Zsasz, and touches upon the even larger story involving the Dini-reinvigorated Hush, it stands alone as a solid story.
Which is another strength of Dini’s on this title. He manages to make every issue a satisfying story with a beginning and end while at the same time juggling multiple macro-plots. It looks like his time writing for TV’s multi-plotted Lost has paid off.
Dini can’t write Dick and Damien (the current Batman and Robin if you are out of the loop) as well as their main title’s author Grant Morrison, so it’s almost as if he doesn’t insult his readers by trying. While other books are using those characters and mucking up Morrison’s larger vision for Batman, Dini writes for Catwoman. Dini writes for Hush. Dini writes for the increasing list of characters he created to fit snugly in the Batman Universe. It’s continuity done smartly and I want it to last forever.
Streets of Gotham is not going to change Batman. It actively fights against such changes in truth. What SOG is though, is the most consistent and fun Batman story you’ll find each month.
What I learned today: If you have the house to yourself do what comes naturally and lose the pants.