Writer: Tom King Pencils: Mikel Janin & Tony S. Daniel Inks: Janin, Norm Rapmund, & Daniel Colors: Jordie Bellaire & Tomeu Morey Letters: Clayton Cowles Publisher: DC Comics Rating: 8/10
BATMAN #77 is the third part of Tom King’s City of Bane arch. I was expecting a lot of action between the Gotham Police Department, now run by villains under Bane, and seeing Bruce Wayne coming into the city to save the day. Much to my surprise, this issue focused mostly on Damian Wayne. This is such a sharp turn for King’s run as he never really puts the batboys at the forefront but rather always sits them on the sidelines.
What we get from this Damian-centric issue is a heart-wrenching look into this mini assassins love for his father. In true Damian Wayne fashion, he decides that he can fight antagonist Thomas Wayne all by himself. Tom does a great job of characterizing this particular Robin. He is calculating, fast, smart, and powerful… however, he is still a kid who overextends himself. The dialogue exchange between him and Thomas showcases the core values Damian has learned about what it means to be a Batman. Tom continues to shine as a writer during what happens after Thomas and Damian fight. He builds up this growing tension with incredible stakes to culminate in a moment I never thought I would ever see in a Batman story (No spoilers here).
The parallel structure in this issue is also up to par with the first half of King’s run. The return of Selina Kyle has me over the moon. The best part about this run to me was Catwoman and without her, in the story, this book felt very lost just like Bruce did. Finally, though, we see some more Bat/Cat interactions that place Bruce back in the fight. With art done by Janin and Daniel, Selina pops off the page with her beauty. The landscape of where they are resting lively and hopeful. Bellaire and Morey do amazing jobs at the color-coded atmosphere. Selina and Bruce’s segments are filled with sunlight whereas Damian and Thomas are shrouded with ugly greens and yellows. I commend the colorists' choices because of how it aides in the visual storytelling department.
While this issue excels in many ways, the only real criticism I continue to have with King’s Batman is Gotham Girl’s dialogue. I understand that she is supposed to be characterized as a manic, unhinged, overpowered villain but it simply doesn’t work for me in particular. I wish there weren’t so many “likes” in her dialogue. I don’t like that I envision her voice as sounding like a parody of a person.
Aside from that mild criticism, I think issue 77 solidifies that Batman is picking up. With Selina by Bruce’s side once again, I feel like things can only go up from this twisted Bane run Gotham. This was a fast and enjoyable read and I cannot wait for more.