“The Gift” part 2
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Tony Daniel
Tom King and Tony Daniel’s latest foray into the alternate Bat-universe is both twisted and over-the-top in a way that is both good and bad. The best way to approach the second chapter of King’s “The Gift” storyline is by thinking of it as a madcap romp starring Booster Gold. If there is one thing King nailed perfectly is Booster’s voice. He is forever optimistic and jokey. More importantly, he is self-absorbed enough to be completely oblivious to the dangers around him.
King understands Booster’s personality and how it drives the overarching plot. He is the main star and the rest of the characters are just along for the ride. As weird as it is, this is his story, not Bruce Wayne’s. This may seem disappointing to some readers. Understandably so, since this is Batman not Booster Gold. But that is okay, because King knows he needs to occasionally shake up the story structure to avoid getting stale.
Of course, the problem with the comic starring Booster Gold is that it can also become frustrating at some point. Booster sort of bumbles through the story with a half-baked plan. While it is amusing to see an obviously terrible plan enacted, but it is also annoying. Is Booster really that ignorant of how terrible his strategy is? Apparently so. This is both a source of comedy and frustration.
Worst Gift Ever
These buffoonish antics all lead to a cliffhanger ending that is… odd. It is supposed to be shocking and tragic, but the over-the-top nature of it makes it unintentionally funny. The problem is that the whole tone of the comic up until this point has been darkly comedic. But the final scene happens at such a fast-pace, that there is no time to process the emotional impact it has on the characters. Furthermore, it is not really tragic, because all of the characters are terrible people. In this alternate universe, everybody is either a jerk, insane, or conceited. Even Martha Wayne is a detestable person. There is nobody for the readers to identify with or become attached to. The sole exception might be Booster Gold. But, once again, it depends on the reader’s personal tolerance level of his character.
Daniel’s art is pretty decent. He is appropriately gritty and serious-looking for a story set in a apocalyptic Gotham. However, his faces are not always consistent. There are times when Martha Wayne resembles that creepy hallucination scene from the Scott Snyder’s “Court of Owls” story.
King continues giving us twists in this alternate-universe storyline. However, the adventure showcases the downside of the alternate-universe trope: it is too easy to make everything awful and the characters unlikeable. This makes it difficult for the reader to connect with anybody. Furthermore, the outrageous tone makes the ending unintentionally laughable.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment