Writer: Tom King / Artist: Mikel Janin / DC Comics

Batman’s had time to think things over and he’ll be accepting Amanda Waller’s proposal to take on one of his most physically and mentally demanding foes – Bane. And because he has this thing called common sense, he knows better than to go into it alone. But given recent events, most of his sidekicks/partners are incapacitated and Duke’s still working his way through the wheel. So, where does our Caped Crusader turn for backup?

Arkham Asylum. (It wouldn’t be an Amanda Waller mission if you couldn’t give a nod to Suicide Squad.)

Batman #9 takes us to the one place Batman probably hates going to the most – besides Crime Alley, that is. But he won’t be leaving empty handed as he assembles a team of capable villains and antiheroes in different stages of their reformation process – each having even less to lose than the last.

It becomes clear through each of these unique interactions that Batman’s a master negotiator. He approaches everyone he needs on their own level, whether it be through sparring, deception, or sympathy.
After putting things in perspective and explaining that there would be no Arkham Asylum if not for him and his actions, he finally gets to the final member of his team who’s serving time for 237 counts of murder. We won’t spoil this one for you. But understand that this inclusion will make the “I Am Suicide” arc even more interesting.

We’ve got a lot of moving pieces on the field in King’s run so far, but we’ve almost effortlessly gotten to a self-contained story arc that will be able to stand out on its own. Some of Batman’s most interesting stories occur when he’s not even in Gotham and isn’t able to use his encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s skyscrapers and sewers to his advantage.

Note: Walking through the dark hallways of Arkham provides a great outlet for a handful of Easter eggs and cameo appearances from other beloved characters. See how many you can catch.

9 out of 10

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