Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Batman #84 Review and *SPOILERS*

Turn Around, Put It In Reverse


Written By: Tom King
Art By: Jorge Fornes, Jordie Bellaire
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 4, 2019

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Batman is stubmling in these final moments of this run. We had a few stories that were disappointing but then we got to City of Bane. I thought it started off very well and I even really enjoyed the first issue with Bruce and Selina on the island. However, ever since then this book has delayed building to anything and instead given us stretched out side stories and recaps of everything that has happened. Now we are finally at the point that we are building the the climax that is coming at us at about a million miles per hour and we are still making big mistakes as far as continuity. I’m very furstrated with this book but I really am still holding on to hope that Tom King’s run will end on a high note because I was such a huge fan of the book when it first started. Anyway, let’s jump into this new issue and see where it takes us.


This issue can feel a bit confusing at times as the entire issue tells the story of Thomas Wayne but it does so in reverse order. I will address how I feel about that choice in my final paragraph. So in order to summarize this issue for you, there will be a lot of jumping around so please bear with me as I do my best. The issue begins where the last one ended with Bruce face to face with his father. He says he will fight for Alfred and after a short staredown, Thomas punches him in the face. We then cut back in time to the desert where we find out that it was Thomas that was the one that pulled himself out of the pit and headed back to Gotham. We then cut back to the moment that Thomas made his deal with Bane. He does so saying that he is doing what is right for his son. We then cut to the church where Joker is lying, near death. Thomas asks him who told him that Batman was getting married. Joker tells him that he got a call on a banana.

We then cut back to see Thomas observing several moments of Bruce and Selina’s relationship. When they went to the carnival with Clark and Lois, and even the moment that Bruce proposed. We then cut back to the moment that Thomas was dropped into this universe. Eobard Thawne brought him here from their universe. He knows that Thomas doesn’t want his son to be Batman, so he brought Thomas to a universe where that exact thing is true and then leaves him there. We then cut to the events of The Button in which Thomas begs Bruce to not be Batman and ultimately gets left behind. We then see the end of Flashpoint where Thomas is laying on the ground next to Eobard. The sword is still in Eobard’s body. Just as the universe begins to fade away, it comes back, much to the disappointment of Thomas. We cut to a scene of Thomas drinking in a small room. He remarks about how Martha has just killed herself and he blames the world for all he’s lost. We then see a scene of Selina from Thomas’ world. She seems to have been working with Thomas and as they leave the Bat Cave, Martha (who has become the Joker) shoots Selina. In the next few scenes we see Thomas and Selina working together and taking down villains. In the final scene of this section we see when they met. Batman holds a gun to her head but decides not to shoot her as he remarks that he had a son that would be her age at that point.

We see scenes from when Thomas was just starting as Batman. Unlike the Batman we know, he killed the villains of his city without mercy. We even see a scene of Penguin surrendering to him only to receive a bullet in his head. In the next flashback, we see Thomas sitting next to the dead body of Alfred. His killer was none other than Martha Wayne who has turned into the Joker. We then flash back to a scene of Thomas after he catches Joe Chill. He grabs a nearby rock and bashes it into Chill’s face until he is dead. We then cut to the scene in the alley with Thomas trying to keep his son alive but to no avail. We see in this scene the beginning of Martha’s insanity. In the final flashback, we see Thomas making a vow to protect Bruce as his son sleeps. We then snap back to the present where Thomas tells Bruce he is doing all this so Bruce won’t be Batman anymore. He begs his son to give it up and live his life better than he did. He wants Bruce to get married and live the rest of his days in bliss. But he must give up Batman first. This is where the issue leaves us.

So there are only a few reasons to really put a story in reverse order. There’s a secret at the beginning that you want to use as a surprise is a good example. If done correctly, the writer should be praised for switching things up and innovating. Unfortunately, when it’s not done correctly you have a jumbled mess of scenes that don’t really make sense at all until you read them backwards. Putting things in reverse order for no reason does very little to enhance the story and in fact can be a huge detriment to the issue. In this case, there’s actually a lot of context that we have been begging for when it comes to Thomas’ character. Some may have already known but others may have been introduced to this for the first time. If you read the book in reverse order, it’s actually quite enjoyable and gives the reader proper understanding of Thomas’ character. Unfortunately, so much of that is ruined by a overly ambitious story decision. It’s okay to go for a home run every once and a while but this showed a pretty obvious misunderstanding of how to play the game.

Bits and Pieces

This issue gives us some much needed context when it comes to Thomas Wayne’s character. In addition we have a great artist working on this book. Unfortunately, this all comes with the extremely poor decision of putting the issue in reverse order of events. Now, there is a way to do it properly. I don’t want others with great ideas that involve playing with story structure to be discouraged. However, understand that you are swinging for the fences and unfortunately that means you have a high chance of failing. That is the case with this new issue of Batman. That one decision affects the book so greatly that all the good that this issue does is immediately and decisively undone. This is beyond disappointing.

2.5/10

3 comments:

J. Bencomo said...

It should be noted that Thomas' backstory in this issue didn't match that he had in Flashpoint and Knight of Vengeance, where he never killed the Penguin and had him working for him instead.

Eric Shea said...

That's a great point, I forgot all about the Penguin bit.

Jim Werner said...

You are 100% right!!! Good call!