At one point during Batman’s Knightmares arc, the stories shifted from disquieting visions of Batman’s subconscious to the Dark Knight confronting different aspects of his relationship with Selina Kyle. This issue we discover exactly why and sets up the next phase of Batman’s journey.
Tom King, Yannick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn and Clayton Cowles bring Knightmares to a close in a story that’s equal parts heartbreaking and frightening.
In the middle of his nightmare, Bruce Wayne confronts Selina and they share one last dance. He reveals that he has been able to hack the simulation to try to confront his greatest fear. However, outside of the simulation, Bane and Thomas Wayne hatch a plot at could break Batman once and for all.
King’s Batman has been criticized as being full of ticks and quirks, but this issue he strips all that away to show us Bruce Wayne at his most human and vulnerable. He shows how well he understands Bruce Wayne as a human being as all his walls and defenses drop, and he confronts the woman he loves most in the world. It’s a beautiful story that we needed as readers to understand what King is doing and where he’s going, even if it’s just a glimpse.
Paquette and Fairbairn were the perfect art team to close this arc. Paquette uses flowing lines and layouts to create a feeling of motion and music on the page as Bruce and Selina dance. On the Bane and Thomas pages though, he uses much more rigid and straight-forward layouts and camera angles, which heightens the feeling of dread for what they have in store. Fairbairn uses color and texture to set the mood, and add to the surreal and dreamlike quality of the story.
Cowles is last great element to the story. He surrounds the characters with their conversation in an artistic way, but also adds the lyrics of the song they’re dancing to. It almost makes the music come off the page.
The Knightmare is over, but things are bleak for the Dark Knight.
Batman #69 is available now from DC Comics.