The City of Bane story has been building up to this issue. After Bane spent this entire run breaking Batman, it was inevitable that the Dark Knight would fight back. However, the entire story hinges on a very unexpected element…
Tom King, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles bring the one true Batman back to Gotham.
The lieutenants of Bane’s new reign in Gotham has gotten comfortable, thinking they rule Gotham completely unopposed. However, two mysterious figures are tearing through the villains who make up the police force, sending Bane a message- the Bat and Cat have returned to Gotham, and his reign is coming to an end. However, there’s one thing Bruce and Selina didn’t count on- Thomas Wayne, the Flashpoint Batman…
King changes gears in this story. So much of his run has been character study with bursts of action and scheming, but this is a pure action story. He visits fan-favorites that he hasn’t used in his run, he revisits some characters that he’s made fan-favorites, and uses that to give us Batman at his most determined and efficient. Meanwhile, we see Thomas Wayne, and King shows us how far he’s fallen- that in trying to save his son he’s become the villain himself.
I have long been a fan of Romita, largely because of his work on Spider-Man and the X-Men. Unfortunately since his move to DC several years ago, I’ve felt that his work has been lacking some of the spark that made him one of my favorites in a way that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. This issue, however, is a huge improvement, and feels like Romita of old.
Romita and Janson lay out their pages in an extremely dynamic way, playing with panel shape and point of view to pace the action in a very dramatic way. The first scene in particular is done so effectively that it basically becomes a Bond-style pre-credits action scene, with Cowles placing the credits on the bottom of each panel as we get the reveal of that a civilian who takes down Two-Face and Professor Pyg is Batman.
Each scene that follows is equally effective. A simple nine-panel grid suddenly transforms with a page turn as Catwoman takes out the Mad Hatter. Tall panels show Batman and Hush in a staredown until it explodes into a tension filled two-page spread. With Morey’s warm colors, it’s an experienced art team at the top of their game, and it makes for a great read.
Bane and Thomas Wayne are in for a fight, and if this issue is any indication, it’s an exciting story to come.
Batman #80 is available now from DC Comics.