Signal and the Bat-Family finally confront the metas and the villain behind their violent outbursts, Gnomon, but will Gotham’s new daytime protector prevail?
Batman and The Signal #3
Story: Scott Snyder & Tony Patrick
Writer: Tony Patrick
Artist: Cully Hamner
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
As the sun sets, chaos erupts and the Bat-Family jumps into action to help the Signal (a.k.a. Duke Thomas) against the mysterious Gnomon and his minions. While his allies keep the battle going on the streets, Duke must go above and beyond to track down the malicious man who has single-handedly caused the dangerous boom in meta-activity in the Narrows. Little does he know, Gnomon holds the key to his past and the future of heroes in Gotham City!
What You’ll Find Out:
Sunsets on the Gotham Narrows as the Bat-Family takes to the streets in a fight against the metas tearing through the city. With the Batmobile held up stopping a group of metas, an invisible strike takes them out in unison. Signal had arrived. Batman and Signal quickly begin to formulate a plan to stop the spread of the transmission that from Gnomon that is causing all of the chaos, but they have determined his location to be in two separate points. Batman decides to split up, but not before ensuring that Signal can take Gnomon on alone if he does confront him.
With his understanding of the Eighth Metal, Duke quickly figures out that Gnomon must be in the generator facility of the Needle controlling the solar radiating. He searches the comms for Izzo and Riko, but they are held up protecting his cousin Jay from a destructive meta named Kid Cobra.
As Batman searches the Gotham Clock Tower in West Gotham for Gnomon, he contemplates the platitudes used but finds no sign of the villain. Within moments, Alfred detects explosives nearby but Batman discovers them right when the timer strikes zero. Unable to establish communications with the Signal after just barely escaping the explosion, he resorts to contingency plan B.
Signal quickly meets up with Detective Alex in Gotham Proper on his way to the Solar Arc’s Needle to stop Gnomon and the two are soon able to reach the observatory thanks to her Gotham Proper Residential Card. Once reaching the top, Alex is immediately incapacitated out of nowhere, and Duke’s mind fills with the voice of someone else. Gnomon then appears before them both.
He asks him if he wants to waste his life in a vain attempt at proving himself and held back because of someone else. Then Gnomon turns and asks Duke Thomas directly, revealing that he knows his identity. Duke tries to stay calm as Gnomon tells him of his history and why he created the metas; to be an army under his leadership. As he speaks though, Signal looks for his weak points. Before he can strike Gnomon charges him and within moments kicks Signal down a shaft.
He tries to regain focus, but Gnomon distracts him with his story of a woman meta. Signal sees the generator is increasing his power, but Gnomon immediately confirms his thoughts once again. He explains that he can’t read Duke’s thoughts, but they are connected through the same genetic characteristics. He continues saying the generator was just another way to show his son his full abilities, and that Duke’s mother squandered her chance.
Then, in his speech, Gnomon asserts himself as Duke Thomas’s father. Signal again tries to stop him, questioning the validity of his claims, but Gnomon shows him the flaws of his plans. Gnoman wraps his hand around Signal’s throat before a bullet suddenly strikes Gnomon, sending him to the ground. Detective Alex rushes to Signal’s aide, but he quickly tells her to get Gnomon downstairs because he has to destroy the generator.
The Detective and Gnomon make their way out of the observatory and onto the roof, but before Signal can join them, the generator sets off a huge explosion. Detective Alex searches for him, but to her confusion finds nothing. Signal had been blasted 200 feet into the air above Gotham Proper only to be rescued by Batman.
Duke returns to Wayne Mansion with the rest of the Bat-Family, celebrating their victory. Then, after a visit with his still deranged parents, Signal meets up at the GCPD with Detective Alex who tells him about reports of recent Joker activity in Chinatown. Standing next to the Batsignal, he simply replies…
What Just Happened:
After a few delays, the finale to Batman and the Signal finally brings a close to the incredibly unique mini-series that explores the daytime threats Gotham City faces. Playing off of narrative threads introduced in Snyder’s Batman run and the more recent Dark Nights: Metal event, writer Tony Patrick is able to weave an original and intriguing story about the Bat-Family’s newest member, Signal. Although many members of the Bat-Family make an appearance in this final issue, even Batman himself, the story does a great job keeping the focus on Signal and allowing him to show just how important he can be.
The confrontation against Gnomon turns out to be much more than just punching and kicking, as he reveals his information about Duke and his past. Although this causes momentary distractions for Signal, I love that Batman’s training was able to come through in the most crucial times, allowing him to stay focused and complete his mission. This only reinforces Signal’s place amongst the Bat-Family, showing that even when faced with both emotional and physical torment, he can be both the detective and hero that is necessary.
The artistic direction proves to be the best yet, illuminating the panels with a sunset that casts over all of Gotham for much of the issue. This provides the perfect background for the metas destroying the city chanting Signal’s name. With so many members of the Bat-Family making an appearance, the creative team excellently portrays each of them while still spotlighting Signal.
While the dialogue can be a bit lengthy at times, the story flows well from one scene to the next. It doesn’t rely on a series of action-packed fights with brief pauses but instead utilizes Signal’s detective abilities, determination, and humanity to drive the narrative forward. This creates a reading experience that is truly inspiring.
Batman and the Signal #3 is at its strongest when exploring Signal’s connections with not just the Bat-Family, but Gotham City in general, offering a heartfelt story about the city’s new daytime crime fighter and proving the potential for great things to come…
Final Thoughts: The final issue of the Batman and the Signal mini-series from Scott Snyder and Tony Patrick is absolutely worth the wait. It manages to bring the story to a natural conclusion without feeling rushed or contrived, delivering an emotionally powerful reading experience that proves why Signal is a more than worthy addition to the Bat-Family!
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