Thanks to early reports from Bleeding Cool, the story DC Comics would have us believe – that Tom King is leaving Batman with issue #85 rather than his previously announced 105 issue run and he’s okay with that – just isn’t sitting well with this particular reader. Whatever the reason for Tom coming off the book prematurely (rumours abound with suggestions that it’s because of falling sales or that DC’s editor-in-chief Bob Harras just didn’t like the book’s more esoteric, psychological vibe). I’ve enjoyed King’s very different, slow-burn take on Batman, which has seen him mentally destroyed and most of his friends turn against him.
But, thankfully, any way you look at it, at least we’re getting the ending King had already planned. Just in a different book called Batman/Catwoman, coming next year. Spun out by DC Comics as part of a bigger publishing ‘strategy’ for 2020, the main Batman book, along with Detective Comics, will go back to a monthly schedule, just as Superman and Action Comics did last year when Brain Michael Bendis too over on the Big Blue Scout. But, I ain’t buying it. Even the cover art (above) seems rushed and clearly part of King’s upcoming City of Bane storyline kicking off in Batman #75 with art by Tony Daniels. Who just happens to have provided the art for this hastily put together announcement.
Here’s what King put out in the official release for this new 12 issue title:
Batman and Catwoman is a chance to do what Morrison and Quietly did in Batman and Robin: launch an ambitious, accessible, beautiful, thrilling new series that concludes years of stories and defines what Batman is, can, and will be. This will be a comic about what the best Batman comics are always been about, how our greatest hero turns fear into bravery, pain into hope, trauma into love. It’s the story I always wanted to tell, and I’m telling it with the man I consider to be the greatest artist in comics, my brother Clay Mann.
Although, King was also allowed to add the following too:
It’s tough to leave Batman. It’s a gift and a joy to be on that book. But I’m leaving it to work on the biggest, most ambitious projects of my career, comics I get to make with the best collaborators in comics. And that’s a gift and a joy too.
I suppose that’ll be the closest we every get to a full confession of how King really feels, but then he is ex-CIA, so he’s used to putting on a false smile from time to time I would imagine. It’s just a damn shame it had to come to this and an even bigger shame that DC Comics has felt they have had to put so much spin on this news. It’s the most positive firing notice I’ve ever read, that’s for sure.
You can read the full release here.