“The Fall and the Fallen” – Part Four
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janín
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
As is the case with much of Tom King’s recent output on this book, events take something of a surreal path in this latest instalment.
Following on from the dreamscapes explored during the Knightmare arc, with the grand reveal that Bane’s co-conspirator in his long game plan to crush Batman on all levels is none other than Thomas Wayne. Yes, Thomas, inexplicably transferred from the Flashpoint universe, amazing batsuit and all.
What I love about King’s portrayal of Thomas is his true motivations and goals are vastly open to interpretation, especially in this issue. Having taken an unconscious Bruce on a desert pilgrimage, with a mysterious coffin in tow (is it Martha in there?), this Thomas is happy and upbeat to the point of singing a happy tune for the majority of the issue.
Again, the themes of dreams and reality are never far away. Is this still a dream or is it actually happening? We just cannot take anything for granted here. One hugely significant exchange between the two Wayne men possibly reveals something to us, as Thomas confirms to Bruce that “This is a dream, but not yours…”
Is Thomas’ endgame some kind of twisted family reunion? The mooted end destination of their journey would suggest so. King is a master of the bait and switch, so I have no doubt we will kept guessing right up until the very end.
Art and Look
Mikel Janín’s artwork is a feast for the eyes. His renderings of Thomas and Bruce are spectacular, really conveying the idea that these men are father and son. When side by side, he gives Thomas the look of a future Bruce, weathered by time and suffering, but with the same good looks and bold stature.
A special treat is Thomas’ desert attire, massively similar to Ben Affleck’s “Knightmare” outfit in BvS. A deliberate touch, perhaps? Giving continuity to the idea of Batman’s self image in his dreams?
A dazzling action sequence showcases Thomas’ hand to hand combat prowess; he’s every bit as good as his son. Janín’s figure work combined with Bellaire’s colour pallet is a wonderful combination, a match made in heaven.
Batman #73 was a typically vivid and surreal issue, combining King’s talent for multi-layered storytelling with Janín’s visually appealing art. It’s all leading us closer to the end, whilst also keeping us at arms length. Every issue serves to leave the reader on the hook for the next serving, which simply cannot come quickly enough.