Two Batmen are travelling through the desert with a coffin. It’s not a set-up for a joke, it’s the opening to Batman #73. The question is why they are there, and what they are doing….
Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles push Thomas and Bruce Wayne together, in a very horrifying way.
Thomas Wayne has drug Bruce’s unconscious body deep into the desert along with a mysterious coffin, headed towards one of Ra’s Al Ghul’s outposts. He fends off bandits and assassin, waiting for his son to awaken. When he does, what will he discover, and can he cope with the revelation?
King is still playing the Thomas Wayne story close to the vest, but this issue goes far to give us a lot more, while still keeping it mysterious. The bond between father and son is explored very well here, with the duo quickly bridging the gap that exists between them. However, beyond that, the issue feels incredibly slight- there’s not any plot really here, and the ending of the story comes suddenly and quickly. It’s good, but I wish it was more substantial.
Janin and Bellaire’s work is fantastic. The story is really just two men, a horse, and the desert, but Janin makes it fascinating to watch. He uses stiff and rigid layouts for the travels and conversations, but once the bandits show up, he shifts into jagged, quick panels to convey the action which really works. Bellaire is an all-star, depicting the passage of time from day to day, making the harsh desert daylight shifting into late evening campfire feel real. It’s a great looking issue.
The Dark Knight is trapped in one of the most difficult situations he’s ever been in. It may be the thing that breaks him.
Batman #73 is available now from DC Comics.