Recuperating in the Company of Friends
October 24, 2003
By Avi Green
Batman: Gotham Knights #42: 20
Days Less One
Writer: Scott Beatty
Penciler: Roger Robinson
Inker: John Floyd
We’re back to the focus on Alfred Pennyworth’s illness, caused
apparently by a virus that apparently originated in the Batcave,
where he may have spent too much of his time as an assistant to the
Dark Knight. And he’s lucky to have only so many of his friends in
the Batworld rallying round, including old girlfriend Leslie, a
doctor by profession (and another one of the few people who knows
Batman’s secret ID as Bruce Wayne), the current Robin and Batgirl,
Nightwing, and even Oracle. And not only them, but even the JLA has
a cameo in taking note of this matter and Batman’s absence because
of this, and the Atom/Ray Palmer even visits to help out.
So, what’s the exact focus here? It’s on how everybody relates to
the matter over a 20-day wait for Alfred’s recovery, in a number of
sequences, with each day titled and focusing on a different
occurrence in this course of waiting. Bruce feels that not only
should there be a quarantine for everybody in the local Bat-family,
but that even he himself can’t leave Alfred alone while this is all
going on. So, he asks for Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern of
earth, who now goes under the name Sentinel, to fill in for him in
capturing the city’s crooks. Alan, from what I know, wasn’t just
created by one of Batman’s original artists, Bill Finger, during the
Golden Age, but may have lived around the area of Gotham City years
ago too (and Jeph Loeb’s Hush story arc in the sans-adjective Batman
this year even featured a fight in flashback between Alan and one of
his old foes, Icicle, with a young Bruce Wayne watching).
Tim Drake, the current Robin, feels guilty that he may have been the
one who passed along the sickness Alfred’s suffering from to the
latter. He had once, after all, been ill himself, with perhaps the
erstwhile “Gotham filovirus”, and had to be treated against it, and
Alfred had been there almost all along to help him get through the
illness. Cassandra Cain, the current Batgirl, buys him a get-well
card at the stationary store. And Dick Grayson, the former Robin and
now Nightwing, and Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl and now
Oracle, also give him their best wishes. And the Atom comes in to
help by shrinking himself inside Alfred’s body system to look for
the cause of the problem, which apparently was caused by the bats in
the Batcave, and discovers the virus inside that caused his illness.
Overall, not bad for an ensemble piece, although there was one page
with a social worker visiting the manor that seemed too much like a
throwaway item to me.
Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl decide it best to use an anti-viral
chemical conceived by Lexcorp and which Batman decides to steal from
a Lexcorp laboratory in the area (as he tells Leslie, who
accompanies him in the Batmobile, “he owes me.”), to both cure
Alfred and to clean out the Batcave, shooing out all the bats that
roost in there already. But don’t worry, such a step does not in any
ways reduce the significance of the Batcave in my opinion.
And with that, Alfred slowly but happily recovers at the end of 20
days. But all’s may not be well yet…as what have we here, but what
appears to be a scientist from S.T.A.R Labs who seems to have been
turned into a half-human, half-bat kind of creature who somehow
found his way into the place. Goodness me, what things the Batcave
has that even Batman’s own immediate family doesn’t even know about!
And a little something that may have to be resolved only in the
future, if it is.
Black and White Batman: Gargoyles
Writer/Penciler: Dean Motter
We tune in to an art exibition in Gotham that Bruce Wayne is
visiting, which also features some gargoyles on display, where Bruce
is chatting with two ladyfriends of his about them, and with the
elderly architect who built them on the roof of one of Gotham’s
prominent buildings many decades ago.
These gargoyles played a part in the Ashmore kidnapping case that
Batman once dealt with a few years ago, and served as way for Bats
to wind his Batrope around.
Overall, a pretty good dramatic item, recalling one of the Caped
Crusader’s former cases, and with some fine dialogue between the
Copyright 2003 Avi Green. All rights reserved.
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