(++Warning: This review contains spoilers for Batman #82++)
There have been debates for years, decades even, about exactly who is the greatest Batman rogue. Is it the Joker, the Riddler, Bane, Two-Face, or someone else? However Batman #82 reveals the answer, and it’s not who anyone would think.
Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles bring readers to the final act of this massive story.
Batman and Catwoman face Bane, ready to execute their plan. No masks. No gimmicks. No help. And then they show Bane they were lying and proceed to kick his ass. However, they don’t account for one thing- Thomas Wayne.
Before we discuss the story, I do want to point out the amazing art of this story. Janin was already a great artist three years ago when this run started but to see his evolution over that time as been great. He varies the layouts to pace the action, and then pays off a series of blows with a wide splash page. His facial expressions are also fantastic, adding so much to what would otherwise be just a conventional dust-em-up. Bellaire casts it all in a sickly yellow light which creates a sense of unease and dread. We know it’s going to end poorly, but no hints drop exactly how until the end of the issue.
There is no way to fully discuss this issue without talking about the last three pages of the issue. So SPOILER WARNING from here on out.
When Thomas Wayne showed up towards the end of this volume’s first year, I never expected that King would transform him into a truly threatening long-term antagonist. However, not only has this journey made his role make sense, but it helps the shocking twist land. I genuinely can’t see where this story will go, but even better it works.
However, it’s not perfect. While I’ve liked King’s run the entire time, there have always been ticks in his dialogue that don’t quite work. The dialogue here falls back into those, which are glaring.
This is a shocking issue, and I’m excited to see where it goes next.
Batman #82 is available now from DC Comics.