Batman: Shadows of the Bat: The Tower by Mariko Tamaki

Title: Batman: Shadows of the Bat.
Volume: 3.3.
Story Arc
: The Tower.
Universe: Infinite Frontier.
Writer(s): Mariko Tamaki.
Artist(s): Ivan Reis, Max Raynor & Amancay Nahuelpan.
Inker(s): Danny Miki.
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson, Luis Guerrero & Jordie Bellaire.
Letterer(s): Ariana Maher.
Publisher: DC Comics.

Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: December 27th, 2022.
Pages: 296.
Genre(s): Comics, Superheroes, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Previously in Batman: Detective Comics (Infinite Frontier):
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 1): Neighborhood by Mariko Tamaki.
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 2): Fear State by Mariko Tamaki.
Batman: Detective Comics (Vol. 3): Arkham Rising by Mariko Tamaki.


“Disaster. Loss. Tragedy. That’s what I’m here to talk to you about today. A tragedy that, like every other tragedy… was preventable.”

— Mariko Tamaki

Collecting the twelve-issue Gotham City event from Detective Comics #1047-1058, writer Mariko Tamaki rallies the Bat Family in this fourth volume of her comic book run for an intriguing mission, at least at first, to debunk the mystery at the heart of the newly-created state-of-the-art facility, Arkham Tower. Told in a non-linear fashion, overly stretched-out, with a central whodunnit mystery to try and keep things afloat, the story unfolds until tragedy takes place and forces all concerned parties to an all-out brawl in what’s supposed to be the new symbol of Gotham City’s healing journey, only to miss its target, drowning its non-existent commentary on mental health and criminality with unremarkable bombastic spectacles.

Initially created as an initiative by Mayor Nakano to change the city’s tendency of punishment toward one centered around the treatment of prisoners, focusing all the more on being holistic, humane, and practical, Arkham Tower is now home to countless criminals of Gotham City and Dr. Wear wishes to prove the city that the rehabilitation of his patients who are under his care works to receive the much-needed funding from the mayor. Convinced that the institution hides more than what meets the eye, under the guidance of Oracle (Barbare Gordon) and the assistance of Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) and Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Batwoman (Kate Kane) infiltrates Arkham Tower as the psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Frow to figure out what Dr. Wear might be keeping a secret from everyone. Meanwhile, Nightwing (Dick Grayson) also sneaks into the workforce to check up on their friend The Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) who was admitted as a patient following her own recent troubles with Vile and the parasitic infection that gave her the ability to see violent acts happen through the eyes of victims. While the results seem promising to the public, Dr. Wear clearly seems to be hiding something, also unable to convince Dr. Meridian of the treatment and medication that he utilizes, as he continuously avoids questions about his methods. But once tragedy strikes Arkham Tower, who will come to the rescue and prevent the loss of innocent lives?

This turned out unnecessarily long but who didn’t see that coming in the first place? For Batman to suddenly have to disappear to handle things with Abyss already forces writer Mariko Tamaki to work tenfold to get readers invested in the main heroes here. It didn’t help that there was no mention anywhere of this reason for his departure, making it seem like he just bailed on everyone just when Gotham City needed him most. The first couple of issues, especially with artist Ivan Reis, do, however, a pretty good job in setting the table, luring readers into the mystery, and teasing at something bigger happening right under everyone’s eyes but then the story becomes flimsy, tossing in too many mediocre pieces onto the chessboard, especially by tying in the Penguin and the Party Crashers with their respective interests in Dr. Wear’s business. Although writer Mariko Tamaki does a decent job in giving each of the members of the Bat Family something relatively unique and important to do, she never delves deep enough into their emotional investment to capture these characters’ level of commitment. The non-linear structure also quickly gets old, with the first teaser of the tragedy given away early, readers will quickly want things to pick up instead of lingering around uninteresting dialogues that change nothing to how events are perceived or unfold.

Unfortunately, the surprise cameos later on and the shoehorning of additional villains into the main narrative becomes exhausting, inevitably hinting at an all-out brawl that will only seem superficially fun, effortlessly reminding readers of the missed opportunity with this tragic tale to further discuss mental health and crime in Gotham City. Luckily, the artwork is mostly in good hands, despite being switched around twice, and remained consistent in style, tone, and visual direction, without ever feeling jarring. The colouring is also fantastic, with plenty of opportunities to plunge the narrative with colours as the story mostly always takes place within Arkham Tower but still cleverly utilizes shadows to accentuate elements of mystery or darkness.

Batman: Shadows of the Bat: The Tower is an unduly lengthy but action-packed mystery thriller centered around Arkham Tower and its newly-appointed purpose of healing rather than punishing criminals.



23 thoughts on “Batman: Shadows of the Bat: The Tower by Mariko Tamaki

  1. This seems like an interesting premise, bummer it stretched too long. Huntress is in there huh? I have to admit the Arkham concept always appealed me. All over the place or non linear storytelling can get old quick, especially in comics.

    Not sure if you’re a Marvel fan but have you ever read the Thunderbolts run by Warren Ellis? I think it was collected in trade paperback as Faith in Monsters and Caged angels. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, Mariko Tamaki puts a lot of emphasis on Huntress in this series. This whole Arkham Tower idea is pretty cool but I think it still needs some work and hopefully they’ll do more out of it in the future. I do read Marvel stuff too but I haven’t checked out Ellis’ Thunderbolts. I’ll have to try it out! Thanks for reading, Greg!


      1. It’s been a while but I remember those being pretty dark. I’m not a fan of the Dark Reign era but I did like how you had some good guys, like Songbird, and a lot of bad guys lol on the team, and they all were undermining one another. Hopefully you enjoy it if you get to it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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