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First look: Betrayal in the GCPD, and Nightwing solves a kidnapping in DC Comics' Batman Giant #4

By Jeff Spry
Bat Hero

We can all use a serious dose of the Dark Knight right now, and DC Comics is delivering just what the doctor ordered with the April 28 release of one of its first print offerings in over a month.

Opting for a temporary distribution channel until Diamond Comics Distributors resumes full operations in the wake of the global pandemic, DC is blasting out of the doldrums with Batman Giant #4, a smashing 100-page Special featuring a collection of classic Bat tales alongside two fresh Caped Crusader adventures.

Available for purchase at all operating brick-and-mortar retailers, Batman Giant #4 gathers three evergreen stories from the past decade, plus an all-new chapter of the original story “Concrete Jungle,” by Mark Russell (The Lone Ranger, The Flintstones) and artist Ryan Benjamin, and "Puppets," by Steve Orlando (Justice League of America) and veteran artist Tom Lyle, who sadly passed away this past November.

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Russell and Benjamin's 16-page tale centers on Commissioner Gordon suspecting that there's a mole in his precinct and it's up to Batman to keep a witness safe until he can testify in court.

"First and foremost, I wanted to write a story about trust," Russell tells SYFY WIRE. "About how the ability to trust people is what makes any team of superheroes, law enforcement, or civilization itself possible. Without it, all we have is the law of the jungle. So, in a way, the people he knows he can trust are the most important tools in Batman’s utility belt."

The entire art team on "Concrete Jungle" does a superb job capturing the story's theme in a slick cinematic style.

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"They also made the mercenaries arrayed against Batman all unique and frightening in their own way, but in a way that underscores the chaos of Gotham’s underworld and, ultimately, their weakness, because they don’t really have the trust and common purpose that Batman’s team does," Russell adds. "A story only really clicks when the artists can work these bigger ideas into the visual storytelling, and that’s why I think the art and colors work as well as they do." 

Orlando and Lyle's contribution is an eight-page story titled "Puppets," starring Dick Grayson, whose parents were killed by mobster Tony Zucco. Now Zucco's son has been kidnapped by the Ventriloquist, and Nightwing is his only chance to make it home alive.

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"Nightwing, to me, is someone who is able to overcome," Orlando tells SYFY WIRE. "He's faced so much of the same tragedy as Batman, but for better or worse he hasn't been dragged down by the pain in his past in the same way as the Dark Knight. Nightwing overcomes, he finds positivity, he finds happiness, and closure. So with this story, we wanted to really challenge that — HAS he truly moved past the vengeance he might've once wanted? CAN he be the bigger man, and save the son of the man that killed his parents, the family of the man who stole his own family? It's what a hero would do, and it's an ultimate test of who Nightwing is: someone who grows past pain, grows past darker emotions, and swings up into the light."

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Collaborating with Tom Lyle and having this be some of his final work was a bittersweet assignment for Orlando.

"Working with Tom was a lifelong dream, as he'd been a friend for decades, and was actually one of the first pros to ever take a chance on pitching with me when I was in my early teens," Orlando recalls. "He was an icon to me, having designed the Scarlet Spider, and to now as a pro work with him was, again, a dream come true.  Tom was a giant to me, and helped so many young artists either through his work at SCAD or directly in comics. I'm so proud to have been part of this with him."

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Now swing into our 8-page preview of DC Comics' Batman Giant #4 in the full gallery below, with a fantastic main cover via Ed Benes and Eber Ferreira, and a bonanza of Batman and Nightwing action for comics-starved fans worldwide. Available starting April 28!