Batman: Rooftops Review and Story Recap By Deffinition
Whilst never released as a stand-alone Graphic Novel I feel that Batman: Rooftops is important to cover due to the implications that it has on the Dark Knight Universe. Following Catwoman and Batman as they court through the night, the storyline would eventually tie into Bruce proposing to Selina and thus presents a huge milestone in the Caped Crusader’s Life.
Noticeably short in length I will be discussing whether this two Issue arc is worth seeking out or if like King’s work prior to it, the book is skippable (See I Am Gotham and Night Of The Monster Men).
With that out the way let’s dive into Batman: Rooftops.
“Tonight, it shines”
Picking up immediately after the events of ‘I Am Suicide’, the book centres around Batman and Catwoman’s relationship. Torn between Duty and his Heart, The Bat knows that he must return Catwoman to Blackgate as promised, but love puts him in a precarious situation. Throughout the storyline, he grapples with the choice of handing the woman that he loves over to the authorities or letting her go. It’s a tough prospect to deal with and it’s a great commentary on the fact that Batman has allowed the Femme Fatale to escape so many times in the past.
It’s a really unique critique of The Dark Knight and the sexist cliche in general. Batman’s motivations have been hinted at in the past but it has never before been this fully fleshed out.
Majestic from the outset, Mitch Gerads paints a tragedy waiting to happen between two star crossed lovers and the art leaps from the page. Graceful skylines envelope the book and it’s rare to find such atmosphere from such simplicity. Using prestige Panelling, Gerads manages to savour every moment and compositionally, this is some of the best that we have seen in a Rebirth storyline. It’s breathtaking to read.
“We’re Never Done”
Whilst King may be slightly inept at large action scenes, when dealing with personal moments such as this, he strives. I loved watching the duo tackle criminals across Gotham’s skyline and it’s the kind of date that is perfect for Crusaders such as this.
Speaking volumes to their personalities, the types of activities that each choose to do really adds subtext to the person they are overall and this is a gripping look at the inner conquests that each seek out to make them feel content.
“It was on a Boat”
A standout section of the storyline is when the two characters reminisce over how they first met. We get Flashbacks to Batman #1 and Year One and both add intricacy to a storyline that had the potential to be run of the mill. Standing as a metaphorical statement rather than to be taken literally, it cements the character’s legacies and reminds us that over the last 75 years, they have been through a lot.
Capitalising on this, King brings back Holly Robinson Of Year One fame and we learn that Catwoman is infact taking the fall for her crime. It’s a nostalgic call back that I never expected to appear thirty years on from its source material and one that elevates the book above the norm.
Ending on a Bittersweet moment, Catwoman escapes into the night, sombrely reminding Bruce that happiness is always within reach but never within grasp.
Whilst it is a great ending I wish that the book hadve been longer. I know that the storyline is continued throughout the Rebirth series (Make sure you pick up the phenomenal Annual #2 that has just been released) but it’s almost heartbreaking to see it end on such a dour yet tantalising moment, even if I appreciate every second that we got.
Rooftops is difficult to judge, hampered by length it still should be commended for the ambience and characterisation that it depicts in such a short breadth of time. Timeless in feel I can imagine this one being something that readers harken back to time and time again and it’s rare to see such a personal story within a Batman main series book.
Instead of constantly trying to live up to Scott Snyder, King has truly found his niche. Unable to tell dramatic and grandiose storylines, he has excelled in showcasing a small scale drama between two Lovers on opposite sides of the track.
Batman: Rooftops was a joy to read and that’s why it gets a…