Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin, June Chung and Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: November 2, 2016
Last issue of Batman was some pretty kick ass setup for Batman and his Suicide Squad. The Team may be a bit strange, but that's the main reason that I'm so pumped going into this issue. The group and the fact that they are heading to Santa Prisca to face Bane is just so damn cool that I really couldn't wait the two weeks between issues. I'm telling you, that hasn't been happening lately. So, now that the issue is here, was it worth the wait? Let's find out...
The issue opens with Batman (or is it?) flying into Santa Prisca airspace with a message for Bane...hand over Psycho Pirate or get your damn back broken. Of course, Bane is not really going for that and his men shoot Batman down and then surround him. Seriously, it's about 100 to 1 and Batman ends up pretty beaten up and on the ground before Bane himself.
While all this is going on, we get a printed narration by Catwoman that gives an awesome look at this Rebirth Selina Kyle and also answers the questions why, when and how did she kill 237 people. It was touching and satisfying as well. It doesn't make her a hero...or does it?
Back to Batman, Bane is having his way with him and really, the dialogue here is so great. Tom King gives the hulking villain the voice of intelligence that many forget to give him and after Batman repeats his line about Psycho Pirate and breaking backs, Bane puts him in the hole that was his personal hell for a good portion of his life. It is another one of those moments that Tom King has expertly set up and it makes it that much better.
While the Selina Kyle narration tying Bruce Wayne's and her childhood is awesome, I have to admit that Batman is the most intriguing part of the issue. More specifically, why he keeps repeating himself. I do have some theories which I will talk about in a bit, but as the issue goes, we get a prolonged sequence of Batman escaping from Bane's prison.
The issue ends with the Selina narration hoping for a future for her and Bruce and the team heading off to...Break Bane's Back!!! This is such a fast moving issue and please don't judge the book by the length of this review. The issue has no wasted space and answers questions while giving the reader a big mystery that may not even turn out to be a mystery at all.
Okay, before going on, I will give a quick theory of what's going on...
I don't think that we are seeing Batman in this issue at all. We were introduced to Punch last issue as a man who escaped Santa Prisca as well as being a master of disguise. I think that Punch was pretending to be Batman to keep Bane occupied while Bronze Tiger, Batman and Jewlee were off doing their part of the plan. As for the one-line we keep getting, I'd love to think that's where the Ventriloquist comes in, but him being able to say his "B's" threw me off there. Again, this is just the theory from someone who usually gets this stuff wrong!
I really liked this issue and while the Selina Kyle stuff is the best part, everything else is a close second. While I fell into the trap of wondering why the hell Batman picked this band of misfits to face Bane, Tom King is showing the tactical side of the Dark Knight who is always prepared. Well done.
I mentioned two things last issue...I love Mikel Janin's art, but thought he "dumbed it down" a bit to fit the overall style of this series. He steps it up this issue and while I still don't think it's up to his "Grayson" standards just yet, it's getting pretty damn close. The detail in his Batman is just awesome!
Bits and Pieces:
While the I Am Suicide story is a little more subtle than I thought it would be, this issue hit most of the right notes for me and left me satisfied while still wanting so much more. Selina Kyle stole the show while hardly being in the issue and Batman kicks ass...and may not have been in the issue either. Tom King and Mikel Janin are turning what could be a straight up action fest into a smart and intriguing mystery. Sure, there is still action, but it's everything else that has me waiting in anticipation for the next chapter.