While using the milieu of the 1990s but capturing challenges that are just as relevant today, Batman '89 #4 frames police corruption and systematic inequality with the rise of a new threat and the fall of a would-be great man.
The issue begins with a peaceful march led by church leaders to protest police misconduct. Lieutenant Harvey Bullock has made a decision to countermand direct orders from Commissioner Jim Gordon to peacefully provide safe passage for the protest march to City Hall. Instead, he's brought a phalanx of baton-wielding, riot gear-wearing officers. Uh oh, that seems like it could go sideways! Only one man stands between the agitated cops and the peaceful protestors … and it is not who you might expect.
Whenever you think you've got Sam Hamm's script figured out, he pulls out a twist that raises the stakes and drops your jaw. He brings in the character of Drake Winston, a character clad in the brightly colored garb characteristic of urban environments of the era, who runs the table and gives Bruce Wayne a run for his money. Then, Selina Kyle makes a comeback with some kind of plan to infiltrate the police computer network, adding a fun new layer of complexity to the story. Finally, seeing the de-evolution of Harvey Dent into the ghost of what Burnside could have been (down to abandoned promises to an underserved community) really gives his Two-Face poignancy.
Let's talk about the sequential art provided by Joe Quinones, Leonard Ito, and Clayton Cowles, which delivers on thrilling scenes (from the streets of Burnside to the living room of Wayne Manor). Even when a page has a lot of dialogue (like the police station scene), they make sure that the vibe of the cinematic experience shines through.
This series has been wildly engaging, and this issue is no different. If only we'd have had a chance to see it in those safer theaters, unaware of the dark nights ahead. RATING: BUY.
Batman '89 #4
By Sam Hamm, Joe Quinones
Someone's hot on Bruce Wayne's heels, out to prove his connection to Batman once and for all! Meanwhile, Harvey Dent plans his next steps for Gotham with just the simple flip of a coin. What does he have in store for Gotham, and can Batman twist probability in his favor?