Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Batman #83 Review and *SPOILERS*

Play This Tape

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 20, 2019

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

We are nearing the finale of City of Bane and things have been left in a crazy state. While I was initially underwhelmed by the previous issue, there are quite a lot of plot points that have been left hanging that I’m very interested in seeing to fruition. Bane has been removed from the equation after being attacked by Thomas Wayne and he has captured Bruce and Selina as well as gotten rid of the Bat Family. I would assume these last few issues to go at light speed with all the things we have to cover before the finale. Let’s just jump into this new issue and see where it takes us.

We begin with Batman waking up at a dining table. Meanwhile a voice is heard that is reciting a poem. As Batman awakes, he realizes that there is someone sitting across from him. It is Alfred, but the life is gone from his body. Batman immediately rushes to his body. It is revealed that the voice that is being heard is the voice of Alfred. It seems to be a message for Bruce. He reminisces upon the days of Bruce’s childhood where the two would play games together. How Bruce had so much joy in his life as a child. During this part, Bruce takes Alfred’s body and places it on the couch before covering it with his cape. Alfred’s message talks about how when his parents died, he worried that the joy was gone forever and he kept a close watch on Bruce because he feared that he might consider taking his own life. Instead though, he witnesses Bruce make his way to his parent’s bedroom and make the vow that shaped the rest of his life. During this time, Bruce looks up and sees the message “You are not Batman” which has been painted on to the wall.

Bruce tries to leave the room but finds a brick wall behind the only door. He tries to break through it but to no avail. Alfred’s message continues as he addresses working with him as Batman. Through everything, he supported Bruce because he longed to see him smile again. He eventually saw it again, when he and Bruce waiting on the rooftop for Selina. Bruce had grown into the man that Alfred knew he could become. He finally addresses the current situation. He gave Bruce the signal that he was okay in order to sacrifice himself in order to help Bruce overcome his most recent obstacle. He chose to not be a reason for Bruce’s failure but rather a sacrifice made for his success.

Bruce sits on the floor as the final parts of the message play as he removes his cowl and mourns. Just as the message finishes, there is an explosion and the brick wall is gone. Standing in the doorway is Catwoman who tells Bruce that it is finally time. She leads him out of the room and he walks past the members of the Bat Family as he redawns his cowl. Eventually they come to a room with Thomas Wayne, Ventriloquist, and Psycho Pirate. Thomas asks if he finally gives up. He has his city, his family, his woman. He asks if Bruce will finally stop now? Batman looks at him and tells him that he will never give up and he knows his father never will either so they once again prepare the face off. This is where the issue leaves us.

As has been the case quite often with this book, I am torn with this issue. I criticized a previous issue for not taking the time to fully address the death of Alfred. In this issue we finally get that time spent. However, it honestly feels too little too late. I really enjoy the message left by Alfred and seeing Bruce deal with the death of his guardian is really powerful. The art in this section is particularly well done. That being said, we are in the final issues of Tom King’s run with Batman. I know we are supposedly getting a Batman/Catwoman series afterwards but I’m not sure how many fans will follow to that new title. We need a satisfying conclusion to this series by the end of issue 85. Because of this, having an entire issue dedicated to this message was a poor choice. At least, it was a poor choice at this time. They should have just done it earlier in the series like they were supposed to instead of 3 issues before the end. I also have an issue that Batman seems completely unaffected by the two bullets that went through his chest in the previous issue. Overall, while I did enjoy the scene with the message, it simply comes at a bad time.

Bits and Pieces

While the scenes in this issue are powerful, they come at a bad time in that this run is about to comes to an end and at the end of the day, nothing really happened in this issue. Batman listened to a message. It was a powerful message but at the end of the day, that’s all it was. I’m giving credit to this issue for how good the dialogue was. However, I also have to discredit the issue for once again giving us a classic Tom King issue, where nothing seems to happen.


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