Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Batman #80 Review and *SPOILERS*


Welcome Home


Written By: Tom King
Art By: John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Tomeu Morey
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 2, 2019

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

We’ve been stuck on a tropical island when it comes to the Batman book. While I was a big fan of the first issue on that island (though I will admit it was a strange turn to take), the second issue felt redundant and even though it gave us an answer to one of the ongoing mysteries in this book, it’s about damn time we get the story moving again. So far, City of Bane is in its fourth issue and aside from a huge character death, not a whole lot has happened. We need story progression and we need it now. The occupation of Gotham has been established, we need resistance. So, let’s jump into this new issue and see where it takes us.



Our issue begins with a man in a trench coat walking through Gotham during a rainy night. He is stopped by two police who turn out to by Professor Pyg and Two-Face. They inform him that this is Bane’s city and there is a curfew which he is currently breaking. One of them grabs a hold of the man which leads to the man dealing a blow to both of their necks. The two cough as the battle begins. The man is able to beat them down pretty well but Two-Face gets a hold of one of his guns and pumps two bullets into the man’s chest. The man seem unfazed as he knocks out Two-Face and rips off the disguise to reveal the bat symbol on his chest. We cut to the Bat Signal where Hugo Strange is meeting with Thomas Wayne. Stranges tells him about Two-Face and Pyg being late to check in. Thomas tells him to inform Bane that Batman has returned but Strange seems to believe there is no chance he could come back from his injuries.

We cut to the Mad Hatter who comes across a stray cat on the street. He makes some excuse about a city ordinance again strays in Gotham and pulls out a comically large handgun from his hat and takes aim at the cat. Just before he pulls the trigger, a whip wraps around his neck and pulls him away, leaving the cat unharmed. We cut to Kite Man flying through the sky until some projectiles tear through his kite and he begins falling to the ground. A rope catches his leg and saves him from his death. He looks up to where the rope is holding him and he sees the silhouette of Batman. We then cut to Thomas Wayne who comes up upon Gotham Girl who seems to be extremely sickly. She wants to keep going to help Bane but Thomas convinces her to rest. She asks if she is going to die and he tells her no but someone will for what they’ve done to her.

We cut to Batman facing off with Hush in the streets. They have an old school draw and Batman is able to avoid Hush’s bullets while knocking Hush out with a batarang. During the faceoff, Hush quotes Aristotle and Batman quotes Plato. How fitting. We cut to Thomas putting Claire into bed and he is interrupted by the Ventriloquist. He informed Thomas that Bane has ordered him to kill Damien since Batman hasn’t stayed away from Gotham. He wants Thomas to display the body for all to see. We see Thomas go to find Damien while Batman and Catwoman have a conversation. Batman knows that the order has been given and that it will be impossible for him to reach Damien. So the question is, what will Thomas do? We see Thomas holding a gun to Damien’s head and that is where the issue leaves us.

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record on this Batman book, but I’m torn about this issue. We do finally get some story progression and lots of things we can build on going forward. However, it’s all coming to us at a snail's pace. This issue we see four scenes that are pretty much identical, just the details are changed. We do get to see Thomas struggling with his position in Bane’s empire especially now that he’s been charged with killing Damien after seeing Gotham Girl’s struggles. We just need more. Too much dancing around the story instead of actually telling it. I want to give credit since we are finally moving forward with the story but at the same time, I need to criticize how slow we are taking this. We’ve only got 5 more issues of Tom King’s run with this book (before he finishes with his Batman & Catwoman book) and I’m worried that we are going to go at a snail’s pace for the next few issues before racing to the finish for the final two.

Bits and Pieces:

We finally get some story progression in this book but it’s beginning to feel too little, too late. This book needs to pick up. Instead, we get four identical scenes in one issue. This book needs to take chances and make me excited to read the new issue. I’ll give credit where credit is due for the things we did get, but we’re on our last legs here.

5.5/10 

3 comments:

Nicholas Fenner said...

"Aside from a huge character death, not a whole lot has happened." This is modern comics in a sentence.

The art needs to be called out as average at best. Tomeu Morey really saves the rough pencil work. It works, so it's not terrible, but it's also just a let down after the previous 79 issues of better art. This is the type of story that needs substance and structure, but we get more frustrating tedious details about cats, philosophy, and the same tired and overused parade of Batman punching his full rogues gallery. Like seriously, how many issues will involve Batman punching his way into/out of Arkham/Gotham/Wayne Manor. Even judging Tom King against himself and this issue against his last 79ish, this issue is repetitive and trope-filled. It's more posturing and speculating on who is the real master planner - Bane or Batman.

Jim Werner said...

I agree! We said on our Patreon Spotlight Podcast that this was just another Batman punching random villains on his way out of Arkham that we saw earlier. I'm glad we aren't the only ones seeing it for what it is

Atom said...

Please, God. . .don't let this become Return of The Bat-Jedi with T-Wayne playing Darth Vader to Bane's Emperor and B-Wayne turning his father to the light side only for him to sacrifice himself in order to defeat Bane "Everything is proceeding as I have forseen" Palpatine. I can see it heading that direction.

No. . .just. No.