Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Batman #59 Review

Qu'est-ce Que C'est...
Writer: Tom KingArtist: Mikel JaninPublisher: DC ComicsRelease Date: November 21, 2018Cover Price: $3.99
I liked the last issue of Batman (not as much as some people mind you!) because Tom King started showing me that he indeed has a larger story going on and is ready to get to it.  Yea, he still plays the game of "fill in the blanks" that drives me nuts, but the blanks got a tiny bit smaller...if that makes sense.  Well, it does to me so I'll go with it!  So, does this issue make the blanks even smaller, or better yet, make them disappear?  Listen, don't ask for miracles (ha!) here!  Let's dive into the issue and see what I thought...

The issue opens with Batman literally kicking down the front gate to Arkham.  WHY???  It's one of the moments that is supposed to be badass but really comes off as silly.  Maybe the guard was on break and couldn't buzz him in?  Where is the Batmobile?  Did he walk all the way and didn't want to waste any more time?

I'm sure that some of you reading this think I am being silly (Seriously, you are right!), but I am asking these questions because Tom King is at it again.  The lack of setup and details with what is going on can lead to these types of questions and each of us is bound to have different answers.  That right there is my major problem with King's run...after 100+ issues are we all going to have the same story in our little heads?  I'm not so sure we will.

This sort of thing continues with the guards in Arkham.  Why do they approach Batman guns drawn?  We have seen him in Arkham plenty of times during this run without this type of resistance.  Is it because of what happened with the Freeze Trial?  Are they in Bane's back pocket?  Is is because Batman let Selina go while she was still a wanted criminal?  Did the shit finally hit the fan for breaking the United Nations treaty in Kadym?  I'm sure some have other theories, but again...WE ARE NEVER TOLD WHY!!!  Of course, now he can pretty much be brought in for a number of charges so maybe that's the answer going forward.
We do find out why he is in Arkham and it's pretty exciting stuff.  He is there for Bane and the book jumps between Batman trying to get Bane to fess up and Penguin spilling the goods to him earlier.  In a huge tweest...I really like the book from here on out!  Crazy, huh!

Penguin tells Batman what is going on because of what happened to Penny last issue.  We don't get all the information I'd like on Penny and it does feel as if King has wrung all the emotions he wants out of her, but it ties into a couple other things from last issue (two graves) and plays out pretty well.
Bane is a bit of a mixed bag, however.  I love seeing him here and it all makes sense on his side of the tracks.  He is trying to break Batman and here he is obviously trying to drive him insane and push him past his boiling point.  The problem is...he does just that.  Batman is just pure rage and I know that is the narrative that King is pushing here, but it feels off.  It is so over the top but I guess after what he did to KGBeast, all bets are off.  I just am tired of the fact that in a book praised for giving us a more human Batman we have only really seen depression and explosive anger.  I don't know if I am wrong here, but there are a couple more emotions between those two.

Gordon gets involved (was he called?  Does he hang out in Arkham for kicks?) and Batman burns a huge bridge and again, can't control his extreme violence.  Am I the only one who thinks this book is starting to ape White Knight a bit?  Whether you like what goes on here or not, Gordon drops a huge bomb that better be explained later on...Bane has not left his cell since being put in Arkham!  That is huge and really throws Batman for a loop.  The issue ends with Batman zipping across the Gotham skyline while Bane shows that he is a crazy badass!
I really liked seeing Bane here and also appreciated that we got a pretty self-contained issue with a great last panel.  The idea of Bane messing with Batman is all well and good, but finally seeing it in play, unfolding before our eyes was great.  I still have some major issues with King's storytelling, but this is one of my favorite issues in a long time.
I really liked Mikel Janin's art here as well.  I was starting to worry if the King/Janin combo was growing tired, but this issue tells me it isn't.  I am glad because I love Janin's art and we aren't really getting it anywhere else.
Bits and Pieces:
Tom King shows the reader how far Batman has fallen as he begins to reveal how committed Bane is to breaking the Bat.  I like that King is connecting some dots, but I really wish he would ease up on the choose your own adventure storytelling.  This is far from a perfect issue that others will no doubt proclaim, but it is one of the better Batman issues in quite some time and I am very happy about that!  Let's hope it continues and maybe someday I can give a perfect score and get invited to all the parties that I no doubt have been missing out on.  



  1. Except Batman isn't an idiot. King only continues to show his Nonunderstanding of Batman with this issue. Let me yell at someone instead of finding some evidence like those world's greatest detective, Lets beat on my oldest friend and tarter the reputation of Batman to the GCPD. Kings Batman isn't a Batman. He's just a Loser who's managed to Lose what makes him special. Sorry Jim, but even if this issue moves the plot along the main character is out of Character the whole way threw it. 5/10

  2. While reading this book, I really thought about something you've said in recent podcasts on how Tom King is adapting his style by what he's seeing people say about him online. The early part of this issue where he's with the guards in Arkham (by the way I think you may have meant that Batman kicked in the gates to Arkham and not Gotham at the beginning of the review), and Batman tells the guard to 'say it again, but then cuts him off. I was wondering if that was a little inside joke about the criticism of the repeating dialogue in earlier issues. Probably over thinking it, but I'm with you on the last couple of issues being a bit more palatable .

    1. LOL...I did mean Arkham! Thanks and I must have been off because I even put the page break at a really odd place. It may have been a bit of a response to critics but we are starting to play his game of fill in the blanks...still, I like that theory a lot!