Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Batman #58 Review


That's Why They Call It Work

Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: November 7, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99

It's time again for Batman and I am a big Penguin fan so I was looking forward to this episode since it was solicited.  I really don't have much more to say about this except I hope that Tom King doesn't have Batman kill Oswald!  Does he?  Let's find out...



The issue follows the Tom King formula...we see the Penguin trying to put a cigarette into his trademark holder while unseen voices (kind of) give us the details of the story we are about to jump into.  It's Penny...lots of blood...we're really sorry...called the Doc... If you've been reading Tom King's Batman, you are no doubt used to this and know what I am talking about.  Penguin then asks for his Umbrella and one page later he is fighting Batman and one page later he is in Arkham.



I probably sound like a broken record by now, but this beginning is standard King stuff and if you have liked it up until now, I see no reason to change your mind.  If you haven't been too keen on King's writing style, this won't change your mind either.  I would love to know who Penny is, why Penguin goes right after Batman and then, why is he put in Arkham?  I hate when Penguin gets put in Arkham!  He is a crime boss who attacked Batman...why is he is Arkham?  I can't complain too much as he has been put there countless times by countless writers, but because of the lack of details here, it just all feels forced to get to what happens later.

What happens later is that Penguin goes down below to visit Bane.  Again, there is a bit of lacking details to get him there, but he's there so we have to move on.  On an interesting note, the only person with Bane here is Thomas Wayne Flashpoint Batman.  Everyone else from issue 50's end is gone and that's pretty cool to think about. 



We don't get more than that one page, however, and it's off to Penguin's Welcome Home party.  How long was he in Arkham?  Your guess is as good as mine, but Penny's body hasn't been buried yet so I assume not that long. 

After burying her, the Penguin gets down to business.  We get a really good tie-in to the recent Batman trial and find out what Bane wants Penguin to do next...hurt Bruce Wayne.  Bane is a creature of habit, it seems, as the plan is very similar to one we saw a couple issues ago.

The issue ends with Batman heading off to try to solve who was behind the murders he thought were Mister Freeze, a bit of talk about Nightwing with Gordon and a cliffhanger that stops what would have easily broken the Bat forever, but instead, sets up a very unlikely duo.  I know that this last paragraph was very vague, but I don't want to spoil what was one of the better scenes this book has had in a long time.



Tom King's writing usually leaves me feeling pretty numb after putting the issue down and this issue is no different.  The lack of detail throughout the story makes it feel like we are seeing a checklist of scenes put on paper all to force us to the ending that was inevitable from the start.  It just doesn't feel like a living, breathing universe going on, but instead feels like some sort of experiment where King has declared his hypothesis and is now fudging the numbers to make sure the result is what he wanted.  I also have to mention that after not writing most of the last issue, this one ends with multiple pages of just  Penguin quoting Shakespeare!  Really?  REALLY??!!??!!

That being said, I did appreciate the effort Tom King put into tying this issue into a lot of the dangling threads of his run.  Plus, Penguin even has an eye patch like he should have had in Heroes in Crisis last week, but more on that in a bit.  After the failed wedding issue, this one was the first that felt like King really does have a 100+ issue plan, though I still think this is all just on the fly stuff after being called out by fans who felt betrayed.  I'm just worried that for the next 40 some issues, Tom King will be more worried about making his story "work" than actually worrying about making it good.

I am a Mikel Janin fan, but I really want to see him on another book with another writer.  His style, coupled with Tom King's fill in the blanks writing is starting to bore me.  Also, it really looked like Penguins eye patch was colored in at the last minute and while I like the continuity of it, it was distracting.  Even the cover looked like Batman was put in last minute to cover up the eye (even though it is the wrong one that's covered!)

Bits and Pieces:

While this was one of my favorite Batman issues in a while, I am pretty fed up with the lack of details in the storytelling.  This book has a very forced feeling to it and even though I really appreciated the callbacks to some loose threads, I was pretty bored will reading it. 

6.8/10


2 comments:

Chris B said...

I've been having trouble trying to articulate to my friends why I can't get fully invested in King's Batman and you nailed it here.

"The lack of detail throughout the story makes it feel like we are seeing a checklist of scenes put on paper all to force us to the ending that was inevitable from the start. It just doesn't feel like a living, breathing universe going on, but instead feels like some sort of experiment where King has declared his hypothesis and is now fudging the numbers to make sure the result is what he wanted."

Jim Werner said...

yep!