Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1
Written by Tony Patrick
Art by Christian Duce
Colors by Luis Guerrero
Letters by Andworld Design
The Rundown: Duke Thomas’ mission to protect Gotham will run into trouble in the form of his old friends.
Officially sanctioned by Batman to patrol and protect Gotham during the day, Duke Thomas prepares to take his role as the Signal. Unfortunately, elements of his old life will creep into his new one in dangerous ways. After getting Oracle’s debriefing, Izzy gets Duke ready to hit the streets. His first mission out will bring him face to face with some old friends who have a dark agenda. An agenda they will need Duke’s powers to access.
Duke will discover that there is a new kind of black market operating in Gotham. One that a new player is trying to infiltrate. While Bruce Wayne finds himself meeting with this new player and learning more about him, Duke finds himself trying to protect the friend who betrayed him while facing off against Parasite and the other villains who want to protect the secret market.
The Story: Patrick crafts a great return for Duke Thomas in this issue. The plot focuses on the character as more than just a Batman protégé and gives Duke agency in both his mission and his actions. I like that the antagonists in the story have a connection to Duke personally and that everything in the story is geared towards establishing Signal as his own character outside Batman. There is a moment where Batman explains to Duke how he is different than his other allies and how Duke’s differences make him unique. I look forward to seeing where this story goes next.
The Art: Duce delivers some great art throughout the issue. The art utilizes the daytime setting perfectly and draws a stark contrast between the Gotham we normally see and what we don’t.