(++WARNING: This review contains spoilers from Batman #83++)
Loss is a big part of life, and mourning those losses is part of the human experience. It was only natural that Batman explored the pain and horror of loss as this run wraps up.
Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles explore the biggest loss of Bruce Wayne’s adult life. Also, it’s impossible to discuss this issue without spoilers from several issues back so, SPOILERS ahead if you’re not caught up!
Bruce wakes up to a familiar voice. He’s been patched up from his fight with Bane in last issue and has been dressed back in his costume, and he’s sitting across the dining room table from Alfred’s body. As a recording of Alfred’s last will and testament plays, Bruce has to face the reality that the man who has been his father figure for most of his life is gone, and that Thomas Wayne is responsible for his death…
King has been criticized for his quirk filled dialogue and narration, but this issue excels at exactly that. Almost all of the dialogue here is Alfred’s last words, played as a recording. It serves as a eulogy to the most important figure in Batman’s life. As a counterpoint, King shows us that Thomas Wayne is blindly following his mission to the point that he doesn’t understand how his actions will have simply driven Bruce away. It’s a nearly perfect issue that sets up the climax to King’s run.
Janin does the heavy lifting for showing what Bruce is going through. While Bellaire uses a grey tone over the story, Janin shows Bruce absolutely break as he experiences the shock and anger of seeing what’s been done to Alfred. His pain is so very real and visceral, setting up the climax of the story, and the conflict between father and son.
I did not expect for this to be the direction this story would go. However it makes sense, as it’s all been about the human cost of being Batman. Even better, I have no idea how it’s going to end, and that’s exciting.
Batman #83 is available now from DC Comics.