Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mike Janin & Hugo Petrus (p.10-12)
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Tony Daniel & Tomeu Morey
This is the end of an era, Tom King's run on Batman has reached it's epic conclusion. Yet it doesn't really feel like the end, probably because it's not, since it will be continued in BATMAN/CATWOMAN sometime next year. So while you could say that this ending feels somewhat open-ended or abrupt, I have to believe that King has more instore for all of us that have followed this Bat/Cat relationship from the beginning.
With Bane already defeated this issue is really more about Bruce facing off against his "father" (the one from the Flashpoint Earth). Why he decided to put his "son" through this torture was strange at first, but then you can kind of understand why he does it. Even if his reasons were skewed. In some way he believes he's protecting Bruce by having him give up the mantle of the Bat and being with Selina.
As always though, Bruce proves to always be one step ahead. He has Selina help take down this evil version of Thomas Wayne. He shows that when Bat and Cat work together nobody can defeat them. This entire run has focused on this relationship that has spanned decades and has been the true driving force of the overall narrative. The best part is Bruce can be with his one true love and still be the Bat, without compromising either relationship.
From there the book closes the chapter on Gotham Girl and ties up various loose ends. I won't get into too much of the tiny detail because it's these little moments that truly make this book a fitting "end" to King's run. King has taken a different approach to his "version" of Batman and while some may not like it, I think it has been something unique and refreshing. Why can't Batman be happy? Why can't he be in a relationship with Catwoman? What's the point of reading the stories of these characters never truly change or grow. That's what makes this one of my favorite Batman runs of all time. King took risks and paid no attention to the unfounded hate. He told HIS story and what we got was arguably one of the best Batman runs of all time.
Throughout this entire run King has been blessed with an insanely talented group of artists, but I can think of no one better than Mikel Janin to help him close this one out. Janin has a way of setting up the scenes that make you feel a part of the action. He takes us into those quiet moment between fathers/sons, or between to lovers and captures each emotion flawlessly. But it was his double page spread of Batman and Catwoman that touched on not only past issues of this run but of the long tenured relationship of Bruce and Selina. I coulnt help but smile and root for these too damged people that have found love in one another.
While there is still more story to tell for Bruce and Selina. We sadly have to wait. But you can bet that when King and artist Clay Mann take us back into this world. We will be treated to something the likes of which we've never see before. Thank you Tom King and every artist that has worked on this book over the last 3 years, you have created something really special.
Oh yeah and as for the epilogue from James Tynion IV and Guillem March, HOLY SHIT! Now I'm even more excited to see what's in store for #86 and beyond!