Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes
Colorists: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: DC Comics
Tom King continues to put Batman though the ringer. During his run, he has broken Batman down psychologically. The mastermind behind it all, Bane. When Bane couldn't beat him physically he turned to the phycological route, continuously putting him through traumatic experiences and pulling the strings behind many of Bruce's recent troubles. This issue ups the stakes in a way that makes you
question Batman's sanity.
The book jumps back and forth from the past and present. In the past Bruce is rallying his allies to take Bane down. In the present he's confronting Bane in Wayne Manor. The contrast of these two parallel stories was executed perfectly. As Bruce gathers his team, by lighting the Bat Signal with a red bulb, we see them come together. Yet, in the present we see that he's alone in the cave, looking broken and defeated. What transpired in between these scenes is never revealed, but by the conclusion of the issue, it's not hard to figure out what happened.
The art team of Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes, along with the colors of Jordie Belaire, once again compliment each other's style seamlessly. Janin handles the more hopeful scenes of a team coming together to defeat their enemy. I couldn't help but crack a smile when I saw the page with the Bat Family swinging thorugh the air. Once again Fornes' bleak and grim style helps set the tone for a Dark Knight who has all but been defeated. The panel with Bruce and Alfred after the fight with Bane, were gut wrenching and beautiful at the same time.
Bellaire really flexed her artistic muscles with the contrasting color palettes. The bright colors of the past as opposed to dark grays and black of the past, helped set the mood and gives the reader a sense of uneassiness, much like the Dark Knight himself must be feeling.
At times, it's hard to know what is real and what isn't. Could this just be in Bruce's head? Is he still feeling the
effects of the fear toxin? Tom King continues to show us a side of Batman we rarely see, a man with flaws and far from perfect. We still don't know the reasons why Thomas Wayne has teamed up with Bane, hopefully that will be revealed next issue. Either way this arc is moving along at a much better pace than "Knightmares" did. With "City of Bane" kicking of in just 4 more issues, things are only going to get harder for Batman. I can only imagine what King has instore for him next.