Before we get into the meat of this review. I just want to say that DC is finally wising up. There is money to be made in minorities and DC is finally getting in on it. Let's be real DC doesn't have a long history of books with Minorities as the star...and I find The Signal is making his grand appearance at the perfect time. Right ahead of the Black Panther movie. Now, of course, I can't say this is what DC is doing with certainty, however it's pretty coincidental. All that being said I love that it's happening. Superman defending Mexicans, The Joker standing up for the African American community, and now a black Meta-Human who fight's crimes in the light of day. WINNING! So is this comic worth the pull? Is being black enough to entice readers to come back for more, or does Snyder do what he does best and drops the hammer with issue one of this 3 issue mini series.
This book is super well written. Tony Patrick has done a great job. Right off the back I get a very Wally West-ish vibe from this issue. What I mean by that is, back before Rebirth when Wally West was Flash and his issues would start with near heavy self dialogue. Well that's how this is, And its so refreshing. Our story starts with our young hero questioning the need for his existence. This was done in a way that not only made me smile but immediately disarmed any reservations I had about this character. Turn the page and you're thrown right in the think of the action with The Signal facing his first foe, Null. The name of this issue is Gotham By Day, and the team here goes above and beyond to let you know that this is a very different Gotham, this is a very different hero, and this story is not going to be the kind that you are used to. From beginning to end this is a solid read. Visually it's impressive...it's just one of those comic books that feel like a comic book. That radiates that classic vibe from it. Most of the panels and a sight to behold and the entire issue is colorful sight to take in.
The fucking panel layouts in this issue is near amature. It makes the pages look jumbled and cluttered. Sloppy even. This coupled in with the word boxes just make certain pages look a damn mess. Pages that should have my eye on the action are made hard to read and look at. This brings me to the second issue I have with this issue. As I stated some panels are done ultra well.
Other panels look like Cully Hamner was in a rush to get the issue in on time. The details are minimal and some panels just look too crammed. With the art out the way, let's talk about the problem with the story. Which is minimal. This issue does great at telling you who Duke Thomas is, how he fits in the Bat Family, and what his powers are. However, this issue had a lot of information and I fear it might suffer from the same issue that the Metal series it self is suffering from. Too much put into too little, with this mini series being only 3 issues long. Snyder is a great storyteller and my understanding is that Patrick is his protege so I can only hope that with issue 2 the story becomes a bit less condensed.
"Daytime's when this damned city is supposed to be safe!" Exclaims an angry black woman on the streets of Gotham by Day and it put a smile on my face. Why because this is Snyder and DC finally acknowledging how silly it is that Gotham's only crime happens at night. And this page was just awesome to me. Also, I don't know about you guys, however, this is my first experience with The Signal and his powers are nuts. He can see where light has been and where it's going. That is an insane power. Granted it has it time restraints, however, still fucking crazy.
Look! I'm not stupid. Like I said in the beginning. Minorities want more Superheroes they can identify with. And The Signal is just that. He's smart, he's articulate, and he's black. I remember when they re-introduced Wally West as an African American and I was angry. Because though I appreciated what they were trying to do, I felt upset as a fan of the original Wally West and upset due to the fact that they simply tried to reskin a known character by making him black. Then they brought back Aqualad, and Mr. Terrific, and now The Signal. A new character, with his own story, starting fresh! This is a great thing to me. This issue has it's problems though. Poor paneling, crammed storytelling, and some very poor art, however that isn't enough to tell you not to pull it. The story is great, the colors in this issue are phenomenal, and issue is fun. That last page of the issue, when this hero's rouges make their debut. EPIC! So trust me. This is a Snyder original. You're going to want to follow this mini-series! Believe that!