Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Batman #71 Second Opinion

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mikel Janin, Jorge Fornes, Jordie BellaireLetters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 15, 201
Review Written By: J. Dawn

Here arrives Part Two of The Fall and the Fallen, a prologue of sorts to the upcoming City of Bane. In our first chapter, we got a healthy dose of set up and exposition, but the answers were only dangled in front of us. Does this trend continue in chapter two, or do the pieces begin to click together? Let’s begin.

In classic Tom King fashion, we get an issue that focuses on a duality – Batman dealing with his two types of “families”. With the pencils of Mikel Janin behind him, King shows Batman reconnecting with his Bat-Family. Under Fornes’ pen, we see the confrontation of Batman with Bane and Thomas Wayne – an estranged family reunion, to say the least. Fornes’ pencils work in tandem with Janin, but I personally prefer Janin’s detail and sharper line work compared to that of Fornes. 

This duality is used to continue our central theme – Batman has delved into madness and has been broken mentally and emotionally. Batman can only utter a single line against Bane – a nice call back to I am Suicide. Meanwhile, Batman can no longer trust or find support from his Bat-family. This emotional duress and stress result in two tragic breakdowns: our hero punches Alfred and Robin (Tim Drake). King does an excellent job of portraying how emotionally volatile Batman has become, and just how damaged his psyche is. The parallel stories work to show that when faced with loved ones or villains, Batman’s reaction is the same. He is lost, uncertain, and completely in the dark. This is the furthest thing from a “God” Batman like we’ve seen in the past – he is as weak and fallible as I’ve ever seen him.

While I did enjoy this issue, one glaring continuity error has been pointed out to me – Jim Gordon broke the Bat-Signal right before Knightmares, yet it is shown intact and fully functional. Did he fix it off panel, realizing his anger wasn’t completely justified? His reaction to Batman doesn’t suggest that. I’m uncertain, and I hope it gets explained. Due to this one point, my score has been affected accordingly.

Bits and Pieces:

The Fall and the Fallen continues to be a set up heavy ride, but I’m confident the payoff will be worth it. King’s central theme of emotional instability is presented well, but one large continuity error mars the experience. I still love Batman, but, regrettably, this issue is a little bit of a mixed bag.


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