Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Batman #71 Review and *SPOILERS*

Red Light District

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mikel Janin, Jorge Fornes, Jordie Bellaire
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 15, 2019

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

When it comes to this Batman book I’ve seen a hundred reviews and twitter conversations about it and it seems to come down to two options. Either you have absolutely loved this book or you’ve absolutely hated it. However, for myself, I’m kind of torn. The beginning of Tom King’s run is something that I really loved but as for the most recent Knightmare storyline, I’m less than thrilled. This puts me in the awkward position of being vehemently disagreed with no matter how I review this book. That being said, I cannot wait for the outrage. Now as I said, this whole Knightmare storyline which has led into The Fall and the Fallen has been less than ideal. Sure, there are some good parts but I would consider this a new low point for this book. That said, hopefully things can change and we can get back to the kind of storytelling that this book started with. So, let’s just jump into it and see where it takes us.

We open the book with Bruce sitting in the Cave with a signal being given out of an intruder. We immediately jump to a flashback from earlier in which Commissioner Gordon confronts Batman on the roof of the GCPD. Gordan yells at Batman, telling him that he isn’t welcomed there anymore. However, Batman doesn’t say anything and instead turns on the Bat Signal with a red light inside of it. I guess our creative team has forgotten that Gordan smashed this signal to pieces in issue 60. I know that supposedly Batman is ready for any situation but they really did drop the ball on this one. We cut back to the present and Bruce has dawned his mask once again and he climbs the stairs to Wayne Manor. As we cut back to Gordan, we find that his daughter Barbara is waiting for him in his office. Gordan tells his daughter about what just happened and how Batman turned on the signal with a red light. After doing so, he looks up to find that his daughter has disappeared without a trace.

As Batman enters the Manor, he hears someone call his name and beckon him to them. We return to Barbara as she has dawn her Batgirl costume and she is making the calls to the Bat-family and telling them about the red signal. While there are quite a few members that are able to respond, there are also quite a few who are either too far out or unwilling to join. Back in the manor, Batman walks into his dining room to find Bane and Thomas Wayne sitting at the table. In the flashback, we see Batman meet with the members of the Bat Family that were able to join him. There’s a lot of back and forth in this issue so bear with me. Bane invites Batman to sit but Batman threatens him. He sends Alfred over to convince Batman to calm down but Batman knocks the tray out of Alfred’s hands. In his meeting with the Bat Family, Batman tells them that Bane has taken over Arkham and that he was held captive by him and his father for weeks. The plan is to take Arkham back at thus, reclaim Gotham.

The Bat Family leaps into action and the face off with Bane and Batman in the Manor starts off with Batman landing the first punch. Bane doesn’t take long to return the favor, knocking Batman on his ass. Flashback to Arkham where the Bat-family has arrived to take over, however, everything seems normal. Back at the Manor, Alfred picks Batman off the floor and helps him up. As he does so, he consoles Batman, telling him that after all this time Batman has finally lost. Back with the family, they have returned to the rooftop after finding not a single piece of evidence that can support Bruce’s claims. The team talks to Alfred who tells them he did not see Bruce’s father attack him. The group tries to console him. They believe that he has becomes broken by Selina leaving him. Tim Drake tries to reach out and help him but Batman isn’t accepting any help. The issue ends with a side by side panel. On one side, we see Batman dealing a blow to Tim Drake, and on the other, we see Batman with Alfred. Alfred tells him that Bane has broken him. This is where the issue leaves us.

I gotta say this was a pretty frustrating issue. It feels like we are getting story progression but at the same time, what can we say is different now after reading this issue? Still, no one believes Batman about Bane because there is no proof. Bane is still getting away with it (unless this is still part of the knightmares, which would be atrocious). We still don’t really have a great insight into Thomas Wayne being here. At least Bane has actually attacked at this point but it feels like the first issue of a story, not the second. I also don’t want to harp on this too much but it really is a shame that our creative team has forgotten that Gordan destroyed the Bat Signal. 

Batman #60 - Remember That?


What could have been a huge moment for this book was taken away because Batman needed a red signal. Also, he’s Batman! I am much more willing to believe that he has a button in the Bat Cave that signals every member of the family rather than the idea that Batman has a spare cover for the Bat Signal. I’m hoping this part of Tom King’s run is a quick one (I won’t hold my breath) so we can get through the end of this story and move on to a better one.

Bits and Pieces:

The issue is filled with switching storylines, broken continuities, and beautiful art from panel to panel. So basically, it’s a Tom King book. This issue finally brings our hero face to face with his enemy and yet it feels like almost nothing happened in this book until the very end. It feels like we keep building and building to something and we never end up getting there. Hate to start my time with this book on such a down note but unfortunately, that is the case. The saving grace of this book is the art and it is damn beautiful. Unfortunately, not much else to say about it.


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