Writer: Tom King/Artists: John Romita Jr. and Mitch Gerards/DC Comics
Following the events of Batman #50, it was revealed that many — if not all — of the events up to that point had been orchestrated by Bane in a cruel revenge plot against Batman.
After a series of developments — including beach training montages and Magnum P.I. mustaches — it looks as if the tables have turned in Batman #81. After being broken and brought down to one low point after another, Bruce Wayne has finally faced off against Bane back in Gotham City after the villain had taken over the city and put half of Arkham Asylum’s former inmates in charge.
One of my most consistent criticisms of this series has been that Bruce Wayne spent too much time down on his luck after the non-wedding. While that’s absolutely something that should’ve send him down a dark path for a while it just felt like the hits kept coming one after another after another after another. My other most consistent criticism, which is connected to the first, is Bruce spent far too much time catching all these L’s instead of making progress on his battle with Bane.
Issue #81 appears to be the start of fixing all of this. It is made clear that Bruce has been sticking to a carefully thought out plan that includes strokes of genius, like communicating with the Bat-family through coded fighting combos to let them know what was coming and using Clayface as an incredibly useful ally. He’s also taking huge risks, like sending Damian into Gotham City to take on major threats.
I’ve got to admit, it’s really nice to see Batman on his game again. Is it more rewarding to see him back on his feet after being knocked down for so long? Absolutely. I just wish he didn’t have to be down for 30-some-odd issues to get us to this point.
Regardless, this chapter of Batman appears to be coming to a close and I’ve got a feeling that we’ll get the closure we need to walk away from it with a sense of satisfaction, even if there was some frustration or impatience occasionally along the way.
Reading Batman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.