Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Batman #72 - "Deja Vue"

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin & Jorge Fornes
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles 
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 5th, 2019

Reviewed By: J. Dawn

It feels like just yesterday we were trapped with Batman in an onslaught of twisted, disturbing nightmares. Yet here we are, midway through The Fall and The Fallen. It’s no secret that I’m fond of Tom King’s mannerisms, recurring themes and plot points, but will this “affinity” of sorts continue? Or will my admiration for his work devolve into something more akin to that of my colleagues? Let’s rewind the tape and take it back to the beginning.

Our issue is one of necessity – but not in the traditional sense. Set to a backdrop of Bane and Batman fighting, we see the outline of Bane’s master plan…A plan so diabolical and meticulously crafted that it spans back to King’s very first issue on the title (or, technically, his second if you count the Rebirth special). We see how the plane crashed ties into breaking the bat. We see how the events of “I am Suicide” make Batman realize how much he needed the love of Catwoman. We see it all – the proposal, Booster and Joker’s involvement…Everything we’ve read has been connected. It’s all been a concerted effort to emotionally and physically break Batman. Does this sound familiar? It should: this was practically spelled out in the Knightmares arc, as well as outlined in the first couple issues of this arc. So why do we have another issue summarizing the totality of Bane’s devilish design?

I’ll be blunt: I blame Twitter. I truly believe this issue was created to appease all the fans that tweeted at King stating that they’re lost and confused. Personally, while there have been some moments of confusion and ambiguity, I think King’s vision and statement are very clear. Unfortunately, this isn’t the consensus, and as King falls out of popular favor he is trying desperately to show everyone the machinations of his masterpiece.

That’s right: a masterpiece. This run has already established itself as one of my favorites of all time, sitting beside the likes if Johns’ Green Lantern, Fraction’s Iron Man and Brubaker’s Captain America. This is my Batman. This is a wounded, reeling Batman that is so fallible it’s refreshing. He feels authentic. He feels human. His fall feels genuine, heartbreaking, and visceral, and I am confident that the rise will, in turn, feel that much more triumphant. I realize this review shifted to that of an editorial piece, but this was something I think needs to be stated, and what we’re presented with here in issue #72 is a plea from King to stick with it. To piece everything together and see how it’s all been connected from the very beginning. To appreciate his long-form storytelling. Because, in my humble opinion, he has done a marvelous job.

Bits and Pieces:

The Fall and the Fallen have shown us King’s grand design. It has shown us how interconnected his run is, and how Bane should sit mighty and proud in the upper echelon of Batman’s Rouge’s Gallery. We are witnessing a breaking of the Batman that hasn’t been seen since Knightfall, and the descent is only beginning. King defines “epic”.


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