“City of Bane” – Part Six
Writer: Tom King
Artists: John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson
Color Artist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
For anybody that saw fit to complain about the relatively languid pace of the last few issues, as the Bat and Cat worked through their physical and mental re-connection (not me), then the events of Batman #80 will go a long way to appeasing them. If anybody that likes their comic books full of action, intensity and violence, then DC have produced something you’re going to love.
After the gentle build of the last few weeks, the cork is very much out of the bottle and it’s time for some swift and violent retribution.
There has been one very significant change to the creative team here, in the form of a new artist. Clay Mann has sadly taken a back seat and his prodigious talent will be sorely missed. However, DC have recruited an A-list level talent to replace him, in the form of John Romita Jr. True to form, J.R. Jr. has produced art that is vibrant and full of life. His figurework marries perfectly with Tomeu Morey’s colours, all framed by a traditional Gotham City downpour. Whilst some might not welcome a change in the art department, I feel as though the difference really serves the narrative, helping to emphasise the change in situation for Batman, as he is back on his own patch, rejuvenated and ready.
And boy, is he ready! The systematic way in which a variety of classic villains are dealt with is vintage caped crusader. Hush, Two Face, Professor Pyg and Kite Man (Hell Yeah!) all go like lambs to the proverbial slaughter. Trusted disguises are employed, the hand to hand game is on point and the fear is back amongst the criminal element in a big way. Selina is on hand too, of course, very much standing by her man on his crusade. Bane and Thomas Wayne are in for a world of hurt!
It wouldn’t be Batman without there being a significant amount of brains to back up the brawn, and it’s here where Tom King proves his winning ways, with an expert comparison of the two generations of Wayne. As the penny drops for both of them, they provide ample proof that they are both at the top of the tree when it comes to intelligence and strategy. Has Bruce overplayed his hand though, with the use of Damian? It remains to be seen, but the ending here leaves everybody guessing…
Batman #80 really maintains the high bar set throughout this run, giving such a magnificent example of storytelling and imagery working in perfect tandem. With a cliffhanger ending that once again leaves us loyal Batfans craving more, this bold issue is the crown jewel of DC Comics’ current output.
With only a handful of issues to go before King’s tenure comes to an end, every part of the story is building towards a climax that I feel is going to be keenly felt for years to come.