*Politically conscious Batman fans will enjoy the latest issue which tackles race/racism, police brutality poverty and gentrification in the US. This new installment of the DC Comics franchise finds The Dark Knight investigating a black teenager in a hoodie shot dead by a frightened white police officer.
Batman #44 begins with an image of a dead Black boy, his body left “for the crows.” He wears a hooded sweatshirt, just like Trayvon Martin did before George Zimmerman fatally wounded him in 2012. The issue comes a little over a year after 18-year-old Michael Brown, a Black Missouri teen, was shot dead by white police officer Darren Wilson.
The issue, title “A Simple Case,” is anything but, and is part of DC Comics’ flagship Batman series. This may be the first time in the character’s entire 75-year history where he’s addressing Gotham’s racial injustice system. As JET magazine reports, police corruption has always been a main theme in the comic strip, but race, particularly how police corruption impacts Black people, has not been.
“This issue is meant to be a thesis about what our Batman is,” lead writer Scott Snyder told the Guardian.
“We’ve tried to be pretty relentlessly on-point about him being a symbol of inspiration in the face of tremendous fear, as opposed to a symbol of punishment, or a symbol of revenge, taking the city away from criminals. Here is where he begins to learn [the limits of] the methods that he thought would work: finding a criminal, making an example of the criminal, throwing the criminal in jail … Instead, what he has to learn is that the problems that he’s facing in today’s city are much more humbling, are much more complicated.”
Snyder’s story shows 15-year-old Peter Duggio shot in the stomach by Gotham police veteran Ned Howler. Duggio is shown frightened and before he can respond to Howler’s demand to lie down, the officer fatally wounds him.
“If we were going to do an issue that dealt with potent problems that people face in cities that are reflected fictitiously in Gotham, then we want to really put our money where our mouth was and explore something that’s extremely resonant right now, and, I think, tricky, murky waters,” Snyder said. “Batman is learning he can’t solve problems in the ways he thought he could.”