Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Batman #81 Review and *SPOILERS*

Part of the Family

Written By: Tom King
Art By: John Romita Jr., Mitch Gerads, Klaus Janson, Tomeu Morey
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 16, 2019

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

We need something new! This is what I’ve been hearing over and over from Batman fans when it comes to this book and I’m inclined to agree with them. Things need to pick up in this book. We are nearing the end of Tom King’s run with this book and we need to end on a high note. We’ve had plenty of issues setting up the City of Bane storyline and unfortunately not too many of them have been taking place in the actual city. Now that we are all back in Gotham, we need to move forward. We’ve been in a holding pattern on this book for what seems like forever and it’s time to stop. We are begging for something more now so let’s jump into this book and hopefully, this issue gives us what we have been craving.

We begin where we left off with Thomas Wayne pointing a gun at Damien’s head but he says that he can’t do it, not to his family. Damien then insults him and tells him that they aren’t family. He says that Alfred and Bruce are family as are all of them. This is when it is revealed that Thomas is surrounded by members of the Bat-Family. We cut to Batman and Catwoman fighting in the streets of Gotham once again. They are taking down two more members of his rogues gallery and the dialogue we get over this scene is of Batman explaining his plan to Catwoman. He tells her about hitting Tim Drake and how that was actually a secret message to the family that was part of their training. Everything that Batman has done since then (including being beaten by Bane) was part of his plan and his way of gathering intel on his enemy.

Back in the Bat Cave, the Bat-Family begins to beatdown Thomas Wayne and they get a big leg up on him. They beat him bloody and while doing so, they tell him that they debated letting Batman have the honor after what he did to Alfred. However, when they came down to a vote, they decided that they wanted a piece of him instead. Batman and Catwoman finish off the villains before entering Arkham, during this Batman continue to go over his plan and everything that has been happening for the past few issues. Back with the Bat-Family, they have defeated Thomas and Huntress suggests that they put an arrow in his spine so that he won’t be a threat anymore. But the rest are against it. This is when Thomas gets his second wind and stands up, accusing Batman of poisoning these young kids in his own way. Huntress then decides to shoot Thomas anyway but he catches the arrow and plunges it into the chest of Tim Drake.

We then see Batman and Catwoman inside Arkham and they run into Joker and Riddler. This is when Batman reveals that he has someone on the inside. Someone who couldn’t be controlled. Just then Joker turns on Riddler and knocks him out. It is revealed then that Joker isn’t Joker at all but rather Clayface hiding in plain sight. Back in the mansion, we see the clock intercut with small scenes of the fight between Thomas and the Bat-Family and Thomas is clearly getting the upper hand. Batman finishes his explanation of his plan and we get a quick scene of Bane before we see Thomas, walk into the dining room of Wayne Manor and get a cup of tea from Ventriloquist. He’s bleeding profusely but he reveals that his son underestimates him because at the end of the day, he is still Batman. We end the issue with a scene of a man singing what appears to be a changed version of “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. Instead, it is “Gotham, Gotham”. On the final page, we see the same symbol in the sky that has been around the DC Universe for a while now. This is where the issue ends.

So before we start tearing into this issue, let's take a moment to see the good parts of this book. The Bat Family taking down Thomas Wayne started out really good and entertaining. The reveal that Joker is actually Clayface and working for Batman is a nice development that we haven’t gotten before. The rest of this issue though… I’m through trying to look for a silver lining. It was freaking awful! We had ANOTHER issue of Batman just fighting a couple more members of his rogue’s gallery and he went over what had happened in the last 6 or 7 issues! WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN THOSE ISSUES, WE READ IT OURSELVES! This entire conversation between Batman and Catwoman can be summarized by simply saying “I’m Batman and I had a plan this entire time.” but instead he goes through every single part of this storyline up to now and explains what he was thinking and planning the entire time. It is an exhausting read because we already know all this stuff and we get several paragraphs telling us all about it again. What’s worse, the part with the Bat-Family which I was enjoying was finished off-screen. At least show us Thomas Wayne beating the Bat-Family. Instead, we get a FREAKING CLOCK for the entire scene and a couple panels of random arms in combat. Also, the previous issue, Batman said it was impossible for him to get into the Manor without being discovered. So how the hell did the entire Bat-Family do it? So what have we gotten from this issue? We get a recap, a good scene that was ruined by its conclusion, and a reveal that Clayface has been undercover. That’s it...

Bits and Pieces

While this issue isn’t without some good parts, it ultimately ends up incredibly disappointing as the majority of the issue is, once again, simply recapping the events that we already know. The most interesting part of this issue finishes with an off-panel fight scene that would have been much more interesting than the actual panel that we got which basically just looked at a clock while the sounds of battle happened elsewhere. I’ve given this book a lot of leeways but this issue I cannot hold back on. The good parts of this book do not even come close to outweighing or even balancing out the bad.



  1. Tom King thinks it's good writing to have a bunch of nonsense happen, and then have a character say it was all part of their master plan.


  2. Cómo se pronuncia
    Batman since marriage because I like comics went to hell