Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Batman #85 Review and *SPOILERS*

A Tom King Finale

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus, Jordie Bellaire
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 18, 2019

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

It seems like we’ve been saying it for the past few months, but this book is stumbling at the finish line. Finally, we have arrived at the final issue of Tom King’s run. It has been one of the most divisive runs in recent memory (though Snyder could definitely give him a run for his money). For the most part, I’ve enjoyed his run but this back half of it definitely had more misses than hits. I will still look forward to future books by Tom King but I’m going to be glad to see him off of Batman for a while. (At least the main Batman title). However, until then we still have a final issue of his run and he’s got a lot to tie together. He’s been given some extra pages in order to do so. Let’s jump into our newest issue and see where it takes us.

We pick up where we left off in the Wayne Manor. Bruce is on the ground with Thomas telling him to stand down. This is when he looks at Catwoman and the two agree that now is the time. Catwoman brings out her whip and begins the attack on Thomas. We cut away to a bar where some patrons are watching the Gotham Knights play football. One of the patrons is revealed to be Bruce Wayne himself. He talks with another man about some of the finer points of the team and the sport. Bruce reveals that he was listening to the game in the car and he stopped at the bar because he wanted to watch it on the screen until the end. Back in the Manor, Catwoman puts Thomas on his belly and kicks his head into the floor. We cut to Batman climbing a tower with Gotham Girl. She asks him if he will marry Selina. They are discussing Gotham Girl’s future but she keeps bringing the conversation back to Bruce and Selina. We return to the Manor to see how Catwoman was able to spring their trap. She reveals that since he left her with The Ventriloquist, she was able to control him because she still has a part of Scarface. In anger, Thomas lunges at Ventriloquist but gets knocked back down by Batman.

We cut to a prison where Thomas is getting the full Hannibal Lector treatment. Straight jacket, mask, the whole nine yards. He tells him about how he asks them the same question every day. “Are you proud of me.” He talks with him a bit more before we cut back to the Manor. Thomas admits defeat to Bruce but at the last second pull a gun and puts it to Bruce’s temple. We cut to a dark day where Bruce is visiting the grave of Alfred. He talks about how he made tea and cucumber sandwiches for the boys. Selina eventually joins him but they must leave when they see the Bat Signal in the sky. There a montage scene of the two fighting crime together as Selina recites a song. When they have down time they question whether they should get married again. The two seem to be on the same page and they plan to find a judge that night and make it official. The two then look into each other’s eyes, profess their love and their lips meet. In the manor, Thomas begins ranting about how he showed Bruce that he could live without Batman.

We cut to Bruce and Selina in bed together. They both wake up in the middle of the night and enjoy each other’s company. Bruce reveals that they forgot to go to the judge and Selina tells him that it doesn’t matter. They operate outside of the law. They don’t need the law to make their marriage official. The two profess their love again and are once again in each other’s arms. In the Manor, Batman returns with his own monologue. He talks about how his vow saved him but he is no child anymore. He isn’t Batman because of some vow from so long ago. He is Batman because he chooses to be Batman. We cut to the past as we see Thomas get in bed with his wife Martha. He tells her that Bruce wanted to hear the story about the animals in the pit again. We cut to the future where we see Thomas in the medical ward of the prison. His quiet moment is interrupted by Bane who takes his revenge by breaking Thomas’ back. We cut back to the Manor and Thomas lowers the gun and admits defeat. He beaks Bruce to listen to him. We cut to the tower with Batman and Gotham Girl and Batman offers her Platinum Kryptonite. It’ll allow her to continue to use her powers without the negative side effects anymore. She takes it and she and Bruce share a nice moment before returning to their lives. In the Manor, Bruce tells Thomas that he isn’t really his father before knocking him out. Back in the bar, we see Bruce and the man continue to talk about football. The Knights are down and they have one last chance to win the game. Bruce tells him that they should keep on hoping even when everything tells them that they should just give up. As they watch the game Selina joins them and the announcers on the television describe a game winning play. In the epilogue we see the Joker’s men creating traps when the news about Superman breaks. One of the men asks if Joker will do the same thing with Batman and Joker beats him senseless for suggesting it. However, he then admits that it’s not a bad idea. This is where the issue leaves us.

Tom King ends Batman in the most Tom King way that I can think of. I really hate that the climax of the series is chopped up and dealt to random parts of the book instead of it all just being in one big chunk. In addition it feels kind of quick to me. However, for all the issues that I have with the book, I enjoyed this. There’s a lot of things that we needed to get closure on and thankfully we got just that. We defeated the bad guy. He got what was coming to him. Batman and Catwoman are finally together just like we wanted them to be. Gotham Girl has been taken care of (even though that is a bit odd but I’ll let it slide). We got some fallout from the death of Alfred, but I wish we got more. Overall, it was a nice ending. It wasn’t the epic finale that I wanted it to be, but it has most of the things that I wanted. It even has a nice epilogue.

Bits and Pieces:

The ending of Tom King’s Batman will be just as divisive as his entire run with this book but at the end of the day, most of the things that I felt needed to be addressed were indeed addressed. King does it in his signature style which may turn away some fans but this run is over and it was all tied together at the end with a nice bow. We even got an interested epilogue for where the story will go from here on out. Overall, it wasn’t the epic finale that we all wanted it to be, but it ended in a satisfying manner and there aren’t too many books that can properly say that.


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