Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Batman #70 Second Opinion

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 1, 2019
Review by: J. Dawn

Batman has emerged from the nightmares that have plagued him, only to find himself surrounded by a large majority of his rogue’s gallery. Batman’s eternal struggle continues, but is it an enjoyable read? We’ll have to dig in and find out.

While this may be a little unorthodox, I’d be remiss to say that by the end of the issue my heart was racing. Invigorated as Batman was, I felt ready to take on anything. (Not bad for $3.99!) Perhaps there’s a little bit of hyperbole here, but this issue is cathartic. Our hero, who has been a psychological trainwreck since Batman #50, has dealt with his inner demons in a way only King can orchestrate. We’ve seen appropriate callbacks to Selina and his love for her. We’ve seen Batman’s constant fear of being a poor father presented in the horrifying visage of Damian as Pyg. We’ve even, on a subtextual level, witnessed Bruce fail to believe in his own detective skills - the “World’s Greatest Detective” was in shambles. Then comes along Batman #70.

Within these pages you’ll witness an A-Class beat down that demonstrates that Bruce is finally regaining the confidence he’d lost. In a clever subversion of the “gauntlet of foes” trope, we see Batman fight his way out of the asylum only to show that, in doing so, Batman may have become more insane than he’d ever realized. Make no mistake, after the torment he’s endured Batman is thoroughly enjoying this thrashing. His maniacal laughter after crushing Amygdala and Solomon Grundy is equally poignant and disturbing. 

My colleague Jim has mentioned that this story is a shallow revisiting of Knightfall, but I’d argue that it is a love letter. This gauntlet of foes is reminiscent of the torture Batman had to endure before Bane broke his back, only this time Batman has learned not to charge ahead while he is mentally and physically drained. This Batman has accepted he cannot do everything alone. He has amassed a family that will fight by his side, and he intends to call on them (tying nicely into the themes presented in King’s Detective Comics #1000 story). This shows character development and depth that isn’t often seen in serialized comics, and I for one cannot wait to see what happens when the Batfamily descends on Bane’s lair.

Bits and Pieces:

With Batman wide awake and ready to take on Bane, I find myself eager to see what’s to come. Admittedly, this issue offers mostly setup, but the table has been set for an epic duel that should reverberate throughout the Batman title. Batman #75 can’t come fast enough.


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