Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Batman #56 Review


Writer: Tom King
Artist: Tony Daniel
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 3, 2018

Well, something big certainly happened at the end of the last issue, huh?  If you don't know what that was, I would suggest going and reading it now because, after the page break, I will talk about it.  Going into this issue, the big question on my mind was "what will Batman do?"  Well...what does he do?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with a little KGBeast father and son action.  I do have to point out that last issue, there were quite a few people I talked to and even some reviews that had no idea that KGBeast was even in this book.  Tom King didn't make it crystal clear who the would-be assassin was, but longtime readers could make the connection and hopefully guide the others along the way.  I just wonder why Tom King didn't think he had to.

We then head off to Tommy's Guns to see Batman throw the shop owner through a window and yank him by the neck with a zip line Batarang.  There is no evidence collecting except what we are told later in the Batcave and the emotions just were not there for me.  The problem is, Tom King wants to show us Batman's anger through these over the top actions.  Ripping out a urinal, throwing a guy through a window... but it just feels like the easy way out.  On the next page, Alfred gets choked up and it's the perfect time for something there and nope, Tom King pushes along.  I know that Batman isn't the most emotional guy, but he's starting to come off like a guy who is devoid of any emotions except crazy anger in this book.  In a run that gets praise for showing the human side of the Dark Knight, I really would expect more.

The issue continues jumping between KGBeast and his father and Batman trying to figure out just where the Beast is.  Again, without any real emotional connection to KGBeast, the scenes with him fall flat because they feel so damned forced.  It really felt like a watered down version of King's retelling of Bane's upbringing, though this was a lot quicker.

While there was some deja vu to be had there, we meet up with Batman and Bronze Tiger fighting ninjas while talking about how to find KGBeast.  Why not just make them mummies to recreate the backdrop of the last issue?  It gives Batman the next stop in his magical mystery tour where he gets to hang out with Kanto. 

In a sly wink wink, it feels like Tom King spoiled a bit of his Mister Miracle ending here and to me, is easily the best scene in the book.  It points Batman towards the Beast's father but also reminds us that Batman is badass...even if I would have liked a little more setup to get us into the scene, especially since the KGBeast back and forth makes it seem as if all of this is happening in real time and maybe taking an hour or less total.  The issue ends with KGBeast seemingly tying up his one loose end and Batman arriving to possibly give his old enemy a hand...or take his last one away.

I really expected more emotions here.  Sure, Tom King tries to give some, but they seemed misdirected and not well earned.  I mentioned in the beginning that it surprised me that King didn't set up KGBeast in the last issue and now tries to get emotional with him and his dad.  As far as Batman goes, we see him treat a piece of shit like...well, a piece of shit.  Nothing more, nothing less.

As far as the story goes, I wasn't angered by it, but the sparse narrative that leaves so much off panel just doesn't allow me to ever get invested in what is going on.  Bronze Tiger's interactions felt cold and the scope of the ninja battle isn't seen until it's over.  The Kanto bit seemed claustrophobic and by the end just felt like a step in the process shoved in without a ton of rhyme or reason except to name drop Orion and Granny Goodness.  Then we get a cliffhanger that just sits there on the page and I can't say I'm excited to see what's next.

I did like the art.  I am a big fan of Tony Daniel and while I wish this issue had more backgrounds and wider camera angles (like the Dynamic Duo parts of the last issue), he really does a great job on the character models here.

Bits and Pieces:

While I was expecting more emotions from this issue, we get our standard over the top anger moment, but not much else.  Half the issue is devoted to KGBeast working out some daddy issues, but without properly setting up the character, it fell flat.  While that was going on, we get a couple of Batman scenes that felt a bit incomplete to lead him the Beast and even if this isn't the worst issue of Batman we've had, the overall storytelling is starting to feel lazy.



  1. Was a little higher on this book, but agree with many of your points. The BDSM scene is one of the best King Batman scenes in ages, but I also would have liked a little more intro into just how Batman got tied up to begin with.

    I actually did think the KGDad stuff was pretty good. I got the feeling that the father was actually scared (why he took his first drink in 26 years or however long it was), but was putting on the tough guy act he thinks is required of a man. Maybe killing his dad was him killing the tough guy act, and actually being tough.

    The biggest problem for me is the end of the issue. If KGBeast can hear Batman walking in the snow from hundreds of feet away, then Batman heard the gunshot. This is the type of thing that Tom King completely skips over in subsequent issues though. Issue 57 will probably start with them on a beach in Maui, with a brief mention of how KGBeast slipped out a backdoor in Siberia.

    1. I know! Lol!!! I just feel he skips out on details that would flesh out the story and characters and leaves me just outside looking in.

  2. Everything mentioned above is what scares me too. I actually enjoyed this issue, the first Batman issue in a long time Ive actually gotten some enjoyment out of, and I dont want the ending ruined in typical King fashion.