Title: Wayne of Gotham

Author: Tracy Hickman

Publisher: It Books, HarperCollins Publishers

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Jon DePaolis

How much do we really know about our past?

The very set of memories that are supposed to define and determine our present and future selves tend to be the set of memories that are least reliable. How much can we truly remember about our lives after years have gone by — distancing us from those memories to the point where it is as if those memories were actually scenes from a movie instead of vignettes of reality?

Tracy Hickman’s Wayne of Gotham attempts to answer the question of how fragile and disconnected our own memories are. In order to achieve that end, Hickman crafts two stories. The first has a son trying to piece together shattered memories of his parents after a villain puts in motion a complicated maze of crime. The second, set approximately 50 years earlier, sees a young adult rebelling against his abusive father, in turn making questionable decisions in the name of morality.

The connecting thread between the stories is that Wayne of Gotham is about Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, and his father, Thomas.

Hickman is able to weave between each story with ease and constructs them in such a way that it is as if the reader were constructing the pieces to a puzzle. Thomas Wayne has a lust for not only having the girl of his dreams notice him but also to distance himself from a controlling father who raised him with fists instead of hugs.

Thomas Wayne believes in humanity, something Patrick Wayne, his father, doesn’t. Thomas Wayne believes that people can change, something his father also does not believe. The crux comes when Thomas thinks that he can help people change by more than just will and determination, but by medicine and engineering. Thomas believes he can cure the world of crime by infecting criminals with a behavior-modifying virus.

Years later, Bruce Wayne is forced to deal with the consequences of Thomas’ mistakes, all while also trying to come to terms with the idea that his parents weren’t the saints he had always remembered them to be. And when his new adversary forces him to relieve the worst night of his life, Bruce finds he may not survive the night.

Wayne of Gotham is an excellent story, even for those who don’t normally appreciate superhero stories. The book is filled with old and new enemies, twists and turns, as well as a pace that will keep readers turning pages at an alarming rate.

For more info, www.harpercollins.com

Pads & Panels received a copy of the book courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.