Art by: Mike S. Miller, J. Nanjan and Wes Abbott
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: July 13, 2016
As far as Batman has been concerned, Year Five has been a slow burn with him pretty much remaining in the shadows. Of course, nothing brings a hero out of hiding quicker than his mentor and father figure being straight up murdered! It's all part of Superman's plan and it is totally messed up. Throw Damian into the mix and the line between right and wrong and justice and revenge starts to get blurry real fast and that's what this issue is all about. Will father and son end up seeing eye to eye and what will poor Zsasz do? Let's find out...
The issue opens with Batman and Damian fighting. I didn't say "arguing" or "shouting at each other" because they are actually duking it out. Of course, Batman is running pure defense and getting the best of Damian when Superman shows up. Holy crap! I really didn't expect Batman and Superman to come face to face at this point in Year Five and it really threw me off here, but in a good way.
Brian Buccellato does a great job here reminding readers how good a guy Batman is by showing us how much of a dick Superman is. Everyone (including Batman) knows who was behind Alfred's murder and also who would gain the most from Zsasz being killed. Of course, Superman could just do it himself, but getting Batman to do it would serve so many of his purposes .
Of course, Batman don't play that and Superman gives Damian the opportunity. That is, until Batman takes a little green pill and starts kicking Man of Steel ass! It's been a long time since Superman has taken a beating like this and it is so satisfying to see it at the hands of the Dark Knight. It is brutal and gets to the point of Batman asking Damian if he should end it all and just snap Superman's neck. Please do it, Batman!!! The worst part is what Damian does to try and stop it.
Before it gets any crazier, the rest of the Justice League show up...and it gets crazier. It was so awesome to see the gang back together until they start beating the crap out of Batman. The only one who seems to be questioning any of this is Flash which makes it less of a surprise when he steps up to save Bruce.
A huge moment comes next and while I won't spoil it, it involves Bruce asking Barry to make everything right. It's another thing that threw me off in a good way, but this one is a Statue of Liberty play coupled with a Hail Mary, all rolled up in a fumblerooski.
The issue ends by finally giving Alfred's murder the quiet, emotional end it needed. While it looks like Bruce is getting over it a bit with a little help from his friends, Buccellato gives us one last look at Bruce and Alfred's bond and it gave me the feels.
Buccellato throws everything at the reader in this issue. Batman versus Damian, Batman versus Superman, Batman versus the Justice League, Flash being the hero I love and so much more. It really is balls to the wall action, but comes off as really important.
Mike S. Miller's art was really good in this issue and while I think it's taken him a bit to settle himself into this series, he has arrived. The action scenes are brutal yet easy to follow and his character models look great.
Bits and Pieces:
If you've been waiting for Batman to step out of the shadows (of the lead mines) and kick some ass, this is the issue for you. Buccellato gives us the most action packed issue of Year Five and Mike S. Miller's art makes everything look great. This issue has a couple of moments that could end the war right here and now, but at what cost. AT WHAT COST????