Since the start of DC Rebirth, readers have been told that Duke Thomas is a different sort of Batman sidekick, one like none of the Robins who have served under the Dark Knight before. What exactly that meant remained unclear until Dark Nights: Metal revealed that Duke is a metahuman. This miniseries builds on that twist as it carves out a distinctive niche for Duke in Gotham City.
It seems fitting that Batman and the Signal would be a joint effort between Scott Snyder and Tony Patrick, given that Patrick is one of the writers Snyder has helped mentor in DC’s Talent Development Program. It allows Snyder to keep a watchful eye on his co-creation while allowing a younger, fresher voice to tackle a younger, fresher character. Patrick tackles his first DC assignment with plenty of vigor. The opening pages alone serve as very self-aware commentary, with Duke questioning himself and his purpose in much the same way skeptical readers have been questioning the character in recent years. This is a book driven by an eclectic cast of younger characters, and it needs that sense of unpredictable energy driving it. Tonally, the book shares as much in common with Batgirl as it does any of the actual Batman comics.