REVIEW: ‘Batman Secret Files: The Signal,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman Secret Files The Signal - But Why Tho

Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Tony Patrick, art by Christian Duce, colors by Luis Guerrero, and letters by Andworld Design. While numerous heroes are patrolling Gotham’s streets when the moon is in the sky, only one hero is watching over the city’s streets when the sun is up. As the Signal, Duke Thomas has an entire city to watch over, and it’s looking like today will be a busy day.

Ever since The Joker War, there has been a lot of questioning about whether or not Batman, and by extension, his allies, are doing more harm than good for Gotham.  This ongoing narrative continues as Thomas runs into some former allies of his while responding to a violent situation.

Thomas’s friends consider him a sell-out who has traded making a real difference for high-tec toys and celebrity status as one of Batman’s cronies. Needless to say, Thomas doesn’t take kindly to their questioning of his motives. However, there may be other reasons why the duo has stumbled into Thomas beyond just chastising his life choices. These ulterior motivations lead Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1 to its core narrative.

While Thomas confronts his friends, Bruce Wayne is having a meeting with a new billionaire looking to make inroads into Gotham. While Patrick does a good job of writing this sequence from a character perspective, I’m not sure why it’s here. Bruce owns nothing of significance in Gotham, so why this young upstart would even bother to meet with Bruce is a bit confusing. It feels like the moment exists for reasons outside of the meeting itself, which leaves the panels spent on it feeling a bit superfluous.

Between Bruce’s meeting, the clash between friends, and the subsequent places this quarrel takes the book, the story of Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1 feels a bit overstuffed. Too much is going on to keep any piece of it from getting enough time to really feel significant. While these various plot points are clearly setting up more to come, I wish they had dialed it back just a bit to let the book’s elements breathe a bit more.

While the overall plot gets spread a bit thin, Patrick does manage to give a fair amount of emotional weight to his characters. From the betrayal felt by Thomas’s friends, warranted or not, to Bruce’s anger toward the exploitative attitude toward Gotham he feels from the new corporate bigwig on the scene, Patrick’s writing delivers a measured amount of emotion in his characters.

The measured emotions of the characters are furthered through Duce’s precise artistic presentation. While the artist brings the emotions of the moments well, the art makes it a point not to over-deliver on those moments. It’s always important for the art to be of the same intensity as the writing where emotions are concerned. Happily, Patrick and Duce seem to be right on the same page.

Duce’s lines are accompanied by a well-delivered performance on colors by Guerrero. The colors deliver Gotham by daylight in a bright and eye-pleasing way. The lettering in this book keeps the story clear and easy to follow throughout its multiple plot threads.

Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1 delivers a fine opening to its story. With all the wheels now in motion for this story hopefully, future entries can bring a bit more focus to the plot.

Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1 
3.5

TL;DR

Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1 delivers a fine opening to its story. With all the wheels now in motion for this story hopefully, future entries can bring a bit more focus to the plot.