Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Batman #20 Review

I am Satisfied

Written by: Tom King
Art by: David Finch, Danny Miki, Trevor Scott, Jordie Bellaire and Deron Bennett
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 5, 2017

This is the ending of the I am Bane arc and while some have their eyes on The Button story coming up next, I have been looking forward to this finale for a while.  Yea, not just two week, but a while. Tom King has promised that as this story comes to an end, it will shed light on lot of things that have happened since the beginning of Rebirth and that sounds awesome to me.  So, how does Batman and Bane beating the living crap out of each other give us some of the answers to some of the questions we've been asking?  Let's find out...

The issue opens up with Batman and Bane squaring off in Arkham, but quickly heads off in a whole other direction...backwards.  We go way back to the beginning of Tom King's run and watch the Dark Knight urban surf the Gotham Air plane into certain death...or something else.  There is a very intimate narration going on here, but it's hard to figure out just who it is just yet.

Back in Arkham, Batman may be close to yet another bloody death, but that's not stopping his trash talking.  Actually, it seems to have launched it to a whole new level.  With the narration and what we are seeing, it really looks like what is happening is what I've suspected all along, Batman wants to die.

This whole idea goes back even before Tom King took Batman over with Rebirth.  The ending of the New 52 (or DC YOU if you want to be technical about it) was all about Batman dying and coming back and from that point on, Bruce has been real concerned with ending his life with "a good death", one that his parents would be proud of.  He even asked Alfred that straight up while riding that plane into the harbor.

Of course, things took an odd turn when he was saved by Gotham and Gotham Girl and that's where the mysterious narrator picks back up.  Gotham and Gotham Girl were the way out for Bruce, but that door slammed shit right in his face.

Back again with Bane, Batman is getting more than a door slammed into his face now and Tom King gives us a little rundown of the last twenty issues and that's when the narration gets clearer as to what Bruce's endgame has always been.  Then we find out who is talking...I won't spoil it, but it's very personal and while Tom King took a huge chance going this route, I think it paid off in the end.

The issue ends with Batman taking back everything by letting go of everything as well.  While it may not be the clear cut ending that some may want, I really liked it as a glimpse into Batman closing a huge chapter in his life and hopefully moving forward bigger and better.

I really liked this issue as a Batman issue.  Sure, it didn't quite tie up the two arcs that it should have and because of that, I am deducting some points, but it does a bit more than that as well.  Tom King shows us what's been at play his entire Rebirth run and it's not pretty, some may be angry and others will love it.  Yep, it's that kind of issue and I'm in the third group.  I also love David Finch's art here, but that is no real surprise as it's been outstanding every issue he's been on.

Bits and Pieces:

Those looking for a clear cut ending to the I am Bane (and I am Suicide) arc may be disappointed, but Tom King is going bigger here.  The reader gets to see what's been driving Bruce since even before Rebirth started and it's the big picture reveal that grabbed me.  The story and art were both outstanding and if you have been a fan of Tom King's run, I think you'll be satisfied and ready to move forward.



  1. Just based on the preview, I still believe that Tom King is the master of Sequential story telling. He really seems to push his issue to use movement from one panel to the next in different sequence.

  2. The way King writes the dialogues is very off-putting.
    Everyone keeps repeating the same sentence they just said a couple panels or pages earlier.
    The worst offender was the "I am Suicide" arc, but this "I AM BANE" line every now and then turned the whole issue comedic rather than serious.

    1. it seems like something he was going for with Bane becuase the first arc wasn't like that

    2. The dialogue was very clunky. Solomon Grundy clunky.

  3. I agree with Jim. Loved this issue! If you just read it once and put it away, read it again, knowing how it ends. I love the Batman we're getting here, and if that pretentious midget troll that thinks he is the be-all end-all of Batman writers comes in this summer and takes this series on a Wrong Turn, I'm gonna set Toby up on a Tinder date with his son.
    And Jim: "but that door slammed shit right in his face." Was that a typo, or just subliminal reinforcement of how wrong things went for Batman?

    1. It's funny, I meant as it went bad but now I see it and it looks like a typo as well

  4. I enjoyed the Gotham arc, but the two Bane arcs were poorly conceived. It seems like King had certain scenes in his mind, and he constructed the story around them regardless of whether they were logical to plot or characterization. How is Bane a threat when Batman can fight off hundreds of mercenaries and dodge bullets! Why would Gothan and Gotham Girl be his way out? Batman operates a lot outside of Gotham City. Plus, we know that having super powers doesn't stop crime. King tweeted that there are lines in this issue that he's wanted to write since he was 9. I feel like that nostalgia was a hinderance to telling a good story. Honestly, I don't want any more stories defining who Batman is. It's tired. I want an engaging detective and action story, not a pseudo-psychological case study.

  5. John, if you don't want a pseudo-psychological case study, you must REALLY hate Snyder. Just sayin'...

    1. I liked the Owls story arcs, but yes, it got rough near the end! I had high hopes for King, but here we are again. The current Nightwing arc reunites Dick with Damian and it really makes me wish Dick as Batman was still a thing.