Writer: Joshua Williamsnon
Artists: Guillem March & Rafa Sandoval
Inker: Jordi Tarragona (for Sandoval)
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Steve Wands
It would appear that DC is creating a new yearly tradition. Just like the pre-Crisis tradition of an annual Justice League/Justice Society crossover DC today apparently enjoys the concept of an annual Batman/Flash crossover. Last year we got the Button, a crossover that dealt with the lingering question of Watchmen’s the Comedian’s iconic smiling face button being found in the Batcave in the wake of DC Rebirth. The Button was the lead off to the sedated and now painfully delayed Doomsday Clock. This year’s crossover, the Price, ties into DC’s most recent event, Heroes in Crisis, and see’s tow of DC’s greatest detectives teaming up to solve a case that impacts both characters. For the Flash the case involves and attack on the Flash Museum and the still unresolved tension with Batman over the death of Wally West at Sanctuary in Heroes in Crisis #1. Batman on the other hands is both dealing with not only the loss of life and failed experiment that was Sanctuary but also a personal failure dating back to the beginnings of DC Rebirth and the tragic heroes Gotham and Gotham Girl.
The Price began in Batman #64 and kicked off with a widescreen conflict between the Justice League and a team of Amazo’s, each having copied the powers of one of the League members. In classic comic book fashion, the battle is concluded with some quick thinking and switch of dance partners to throw off the robots. The Battle isn’t necessary for the overall story of the Price but it is needed to show the weariness and distrust that is taking its toll on the Justice League. The unsolved murders at Sanctuary are wearing on the team, especially the big three, and maybe most of all Batman since as the World’s Greatest Detective he should be able to solve the mystery. The Flash on the other hand is still running from the death of his first partner and surrogate son, Wally West, and is full of unanswered questions into Wally’s death and why it happened at what was a promised safe space. The two heroes are thrust into a team up when the Flash Museum in Central City is attacked, and the attacker is linked to Batman’s past failures. The Flash #64 picks up the story as Batman and the Flash analyze the evidence, evidence that points them toward an uninhabited tropical island where the find more than they bargained for, a bigger mystery then expected, and they also must come to terms with the collapse of what may have been a bad idea from the beginning in Sanctuary.
I’m finding myself much more invested in the Price then I was in the Button. Maybe it’s the fact that I am enjoying Heroes in Crisis more than what I thought of the upcoming Doomsday Clock when I read the Button. I’m also finding the emotional state we find our heroes in and the unspoken tension between the two while they try to act like everything is fine between them. Joshua Williamson is handling the writing solo on the Price and his characterization for both Batman and the Flash are pitch perfect. Williamson has been writing the Flash since its Rebirth relaunch but any reader of Tom King’s Batman will be comfortable with Williamson’s take on the Dark Knight. DC mainstays Guillem March and Rafa Sandoval handle the artwork, March on Batman while Sandoval draws the Flash. Neither’s style meshes with the other but each works on the books they are drawing and the difference actually works. Batman #64 feels like a Batman comic while the Flash #64 continues the style of that title. Yet Williamson’s voice on the Price keeps the crossover flowing with a consistent style that pulls the reader in and wanting more. Williamson has also done a great job of keeping the mystery in the crossover, of who the real villain of the tale is, which is fitting for a story of two great detectives. My one gripe is that the crossover doesn’t fit with where Tom King’s Batman is right now. It’s jarring as a reader to be in one storyline for the Batman title, then hit pause for this crossover, and then return to the previous storyline. I’d rather DC have waited until a natural story arc break before launching this crossover.
Verdict:The Pricehas been a fun crossover full of action, adventure, mystery, and tension. Joshua Williamson has written an excellent story with wonderful art from Guillem March (Batman #64) and Rafa Sandoval (the Flash #64) and with two issues still to go it is a Buy in my opinion.