Broken city revisists the concept of Bruce as the broken Batman. It is a brilliant juxtaposing of the brokeness in Bruce Wayne/Batman and the city. It is in this book as it is in most Batman books: Healing a broken city is part of healing himself; “I’d turn the entire city into my doctor”
The murder of an unmarried, pregnant woman starts Bruce on an investigation. The brother, Angel Lupo is involved somehow as is his girlfriend. The brother loved his sister and was overprotective of her; the girlfriend was jealous. However the love from brother to sister is hardly unconditional. When the sister finds a new boyfriend Lupo is hardly thrilled. When the sister falls pregnant she confides in the girlfriend. It turns out that the boyfriend was rich…
“And dangerous. But that wouldn’t have stopped Angel. Not with his sister — UNMARRIED sister–who might as well have been the blessed mother – SOILED and DIRTIED.” – Girlfriend
This is just a corner of the plot, but it is also the corner stone; it’s what kicks things off. And while I understand the premise the case of a murdered pregnant woman and the notion of presercving her purity left a bad taste in my mouth; a brother that wants to defend her sister from an adult, consensual relationship is not heroic or loving, but really really sick. Unfortunately the theme of purity in women in comics is still pretty prevalent and it’s a blotch on an otherwise pretty good book.
A book where Angel Lupo is also sought after because of two parents dying in an alley in front of their sons. A stark paralel to the trauma of Batman that blurs his crimefighting skills and leaves him to rely on the city, striving to fix the city in an attempt to escape the brokeness within.
The book has a great balance of immersion and twists where the situation becomes complicated. It is brilliant at keeping secrets and turning them into surprising reveals. The noir narrative is grim, yet humorous; a manner that goes well with the smooth shadowy artwork. All in all this book is a pleasure to read.