It’s the first week of the year and I had no new issues in my comic subscriptions. So I decided to take a chance on a new mini-series, Batman and the Signal which launches the long-teased superhero career of Batman’s new protege.
Signal is Duke Thomas. I’m not sure if he appeared earlier but I first met him in the first issue of Batman Rebirth. He’s not an orphan, but his parents are both comatose, put there by one of Gotham’s many villains. I have a feeling it was Joker, but I can’t recall where I read that. Anyhow, this is why Bruce chose him. But there is more to Duke than just another Robin. In Metal there are hints that the Nth metal is somehow linked to metahuman abilities and when exposed to it, Duke gained powers. That’s the first of the ways he’s unique in the Bat-family. The second, as this new comic shows, is he might have a bat on his costume but he works by day.
The setup appears to tie in to Metal: other teenagers are gaining powers and most of them aren’t as responsible as Duke. Not that Duke has it easy, between not really knowing how his new powers work and his insecurities about joining a very crowded Bat-family. We are also introduced to a young woman cop, also on the trail of whatever is turning Gotham’s teens into metahumans.
So far, I like it. The idea of a daytime Batman is cool, and Duke’s powers have potential. It’s not clear what he can do yet, but it’s tied to light: he can see beyond the normal spectrum and can also “see” a short way into the past or future, not precognition but more like a fast-foward/sneak peek kind of thing. Could come in handy with the detecting! And Duke is a good character: typical teen with more than the usual angst, but a great sense of humour and maybe a little too enamoured with the superhero thing.
Looking forward to the next issue.