Writers: Scott Snyder, Tony Patrick / Artist: Cully Hamner / DC Comics
And so the three-part miniseries starring the newest addition to the Bat-Fam has come to a close. Duke Thomas, aka The Signal, finally meets the man responsible for the outbreak of metahuman activity in his neighborhood and learns a little more about his origin in the process.
The issue starts off in the middle of the action, with longtime Bat-Squad members Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin and Red Hood facing off against a city full of Gotham’s version of Bang Babies. It was nice to see cameos from these longtime favorites without the story shifting focus off of Duke to do it. Even Duke’s cousin Jay and his friends Riko and Izzy show up and show out. Of course Batman pulls up in his Batmobile on Vogues to beat up on rogues, but he’s still very much just a mentor in this series.
He did have an exchange with one of the metas that felt kinda off. When one of the metas jumps on his car, he calls him “son” while kicking him off. This seems harmless at first glance, because authority figures often use that term to placate young boys from doing something harmful, but the metahuman was illustrated with twists and was most likely meant to be coded as a black person. Batman is white privilege personified; his family’s wealth could have helped sustain Duke’s community a LONG time ago. He’s only just using his resources to provide housing for low-income families, and now when poop hits the fan he wants to come through and put the smackdown on these kids? Kids who probably would not have been in this predicament had he not gotten up off his entitled behind and-***We are experiencing some technical difficulties***
Sorry about that, folks. Anyway, Signal meets up with Detective Aisi and together they track down Gnomon, the baddie behind all this mess. The comic does a really good job of displaying his powers and how only he could track down this villain so efficiently. There’s no handholding in this story, Duke has his big boy Kevlar on, and he’s ready to shut Gnomon’s plans down. The main issue of this series is that it’s not long enough. There are so many interesting elements to this character and his story that are owed more than just half a panel. Hopefully we get to see more of The Signal in the future, because he’s too good a character to put on Power Save Mode.