Updated: Jan 20, 2019
With today marking the annual Batman Day, it is certainly fitting that one of his latest graphic novel entries, Batman & the Signal, should be the title covered for an HBB Reviews review. Symbolizing everything that is right and wrong with the past decades of the Caped Crusader, Batman & the Signal is a concoction of variant stories that attempts to merge them all together. However, as expected, the concept doesn’t pan nearly as well as DC Entertainment may have hoped. Marred by its repetitive nature, the graphic novel often never truly lives up to full potential, opting for a more simplistic and basic approach. It is an utter shame at that, given that there are elements to the book that provoke some genuine potential. Batman & the Signal is a boisterous, loud, and stunning work that attempts to recreate what represents the Caped Crusader, but ultimately comes off capturing none of it.
At its very core, Batman & the Signal is the tale of the relationship of a mentor and a student. The scenario will be very familiar to any fan who is knowledgeable about the Dark Knight’s history. Indeed, the book never innovates on the simplistic story design that has been repeated a limitless number of times. Even with a brand-new character from Duke Thomas, his role and character feel both blunted and cheap. There is nothing to the character that ever provokes a reaction, leading to his moments feeling dull and uninteresting in relation to Batman’s other sidekicks. In addition, the Dark Knight himself also disappointingly falls flat to this issue as well.
Not once is his previous history ever mentioned, insinuating that the story takes place outside of the central canon. In this regard and as an introductory piece to the DC Universe, Batman & the Signal does a serviceable job at portraying what are the central pieces of the Dark Knight character. By being one of the most recognized and established superheroes, there is a sizable chunk of history for both writers and readers to chew on, and Batman & the Signal does help set a hearty appetizer for those who dare dip their toes into comics. But its greatest strength comes at just that. For long-time fans of the character, there is practically nothing either interesting or compelling about this incarnation of the character, especially given just how ridiculously similar it is to other incarnations of the character.