Comic Book Review – Batman #575 (March 2000)

Batman # 575

Writer – Larry Hama

Artist – Scott McDaniel

Entertainment is the ultimate escape from the real world. Movies, cartoons, T.V. series, and comic books introduce us to brand new worlds and characters. Sometimes, these outlets are used to teach us valuable lessons or how to lead better lives. Some people enjoy this, while others don’t. I read Batman #575 last week before I sent it to my friend Cole, and I was absolutely blown away by the storyline.

A disgruntled man, going by the moniker Banner, has caused wholesale destruction and murder in Gotham. He wants to get back at the elected officials and federal government for their lack of response in helping the struggling citizens after an earthquake ravaged everything and the fallout of No Man’s Land. He is going to help the oppressed and the forgotten by any means necessary, no matter the cost. Special Agent Leary and Batman are working together to stop this madman and bring him to justice. Banner aims to destroy the newly reconstructed Truman Federal Building to send a message to everyone that he’s not to be taken lightly. Special Agent Leary and Batman must work together to save the lives of the 600 workers and other civilians inside the building before they are killed.

Larry Hama, best known for his work at Marvel Comics, wrote Batman and other titles for DC Comics during the early 2000s. This is something I just learned today (and now, you did too). Comics have done a great job tackling real world problems and societal issues, without coming off heavy handed, and I appreciate that, as I’m sure other readers out there do too. Banner, dressed in fatigues with an American Flag cape, may seem like a parody or a Nuke knockoff, but his threats and agenda are all too real and hit close to home. We have seen men like him before in real life. Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist that was responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing, gets briefly mentioned during this issue. Banner has rallied like-minded individuals to his cause, and they will do what it takes to succeed in their plans for retribution.

I liked how Batman and Special Agent Leary put their differences aside to stop Banner. Leary makes a comment about how Gotham allows Batman’s brand of vigilantism without batting an eye. Leary quips to Batman, “Where would we be if every citizen decided to take the law into their own hands and prowl the streets in a cape and cowl?” Batman responds, “If every citizen felt that much responsibility for law and order there wouldn’t be any need for either of us.” This was my favorite panel in the whole book. It’s a reminder for us to do better and be better individuals and to help make the world a better place for ourselves and others. If we see something that needs to be addressed, we should open our mouths and do something about it. To take action and make a positive change, instead of sitting back and doing nothing.

This issue is definitely worth checking out if you can find it for cheap in the back-issue bin or on ComiXology or the DC Universe app. I’m going to see how this storyline is resolved next issue and check out some other stories written by Larry Hama.

Next issue – Batman races against time to save a kidnapped young prince from a group of terrorists led by the Cipher. But will the truths behind the kidnapping hit Batman too close to home?