Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Batman #12 Review

Dear Diary

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus, June Chung and Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 7, 2016

I have really enjoyed Tom King's run on Batman and while I still think that the I am Gotham story is still his best, I am Suicide has me intrigued.  Unfortunately, there is a point when I want, if not demand answers and that time is now.  I want to know if what we are seeing is actually what we think it is and I want to know Batman's plan.  I have faith that Tom King will reveal all eventually, but I want it now!  Okay, now that I'm finished doing my best Veruca Salt impersonation, I'll start my review.  Do I get what I want?  Let's find out...

There are some issues that are very hard to review for a number of reasons.  Some don't have enough going on to fill even a few paragraphs, some have so much that it's hard to condense it all.  Others have so many reveals that writing a spoiler free review seems next to impossible and then there are issues like this one...ones that are much more than just the words and pictures on the pages.  Ones where the general mood is just as important as the reveals and ones whose previous issues provide the tension and momentum that makes it all work.  This type of issue works more with what came before, but I am here to review it as one.  However, I will try to give you both views.  Here goes.

The issue opens with Batman making his way to his final goal...Bane and Psycho Pirate.  In fact, that's pretty much all we get this issue as far as action goes.  However, the bigger part of the issue is reading the narrative in the form of a letter sent to Selina...a letter from Bruce Wayne.

I'm not sure how people will react to the narrative, but it is cold, hard and real.  It shows a side of Batman that we rarely, if ever get and I liked it.  Tom King is not giving us the Bat God here, he is giving us a broken man forged from a tragedy that he never was able to overcome.  Sure, he has learned to get by by punching his way through life, but as he puts it numerous times, he is pain...he is suicide.  It's strong stuff.

While all this is going on, Batman is doing what he seems to do best...beat the crap out of the bad guys.  Mikel Janin's art is the best he's done in Rebirth and rivals anything he did in Grayson, but it's the narrative that keeps everything going even as we don't really move that much closer to a resolution.  We do get hints that Selina may be in more (and less) trouble than we thought and that this whole plan to get Psycho Pirate may tie into her story more than we were lead to believe.  

The issue ends with Batman finally coming face-to-face with Bane and it's more of a catch your breath moment than the crazy cliffhanger I was expecting.  If Tom King is going to wrap everything up next issue, I can see why we need such a break.

As a single issue, I could complain that nothing happens here, that the issue was a lull in the story just here to get Batman and Bane together in the same room.  As a part of the whole, this issue hints at a larger picture and gives us a Batman that is more human and caring than any I've ever seen.  Yes, I desperately want answers, but if King is setting up what I think he's setting up, I will be very happy in two weeks.

I've already praised the art above, but Mikel Janin kicks ass!  This is a great looking issue that is huge in scope even as the narrative gets very personal.  Believe me, it all looks great!

Bits and Pieces:

While this issue doesn't contain many (if any) answers to the larger mysteries of the I am Suicide arc, Tom King gives us a look at Batman that is harsh and real.  Mikel Janin's art is top notch and I felt fully satisfied even as I wanted more and more.



  1. This issue only had 11 pages of story. What the hell?

  2. Jim, your review is wonderfully written & usually I agree with you... but I just didn't care for this issue. I *hope* the next issue will change my mind. I liked the art though.

    1. You had me at "wonderfully written"!!! I told Eric that this is going to be an issue that people will be divided on and really won't try to persuade others to change their opinion on. Not much happens action wise and I am actually counting on next issues payoff to make the whole arc worthwhile

  3. /co/ is turning into a firestorm over this

  4. I think this is going to need an email sent in. I agree with what you're saying about the letter, I just don't think it carries an entire issue on its own.

  5. I think it's fucking awesome. We're finally getting back to a Batman that is reminiscent of what made him a legendary HERO, and not the douchebag that we got from --REDACTED-- in the New 52.
    Sometimes we need a story like this to set up the finale. And if we get to look at beautiful art with amazing backgrounds, and Batman punching and kicking through waves of bad guys, I'm gonna pull up a chair and watch that all day.
    I say 8.5