Story Arc: City of Bane Part 1.
Writer(s): Tom King.
Illustrator(s): Tony S. Daniel, Mitch Gerads & Mikel Janín.
Inker(s): Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, Norm Rapmund, Mikel Janín, Clay Mann & Seth Mann.
Colourist(s): Tomeu Morey, Mitch Gerads & Jordie Bellaire.
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: April 14th, 2020.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.
Previously on DC Universe Rebirth’s Batman:
Batman (Vol. 1) I Am Gotham by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 1.5.) Night of the Monster Men by Steve Orlando
Batman (Vol. 2) I Am Suicide by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 3) I Am Bane by Tom King
Batman/The Flash (Vol. 3.5) The Button by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 4) The War of Jokes and Riddles by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 5) Rules of Engagement by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 6) Bride or Burglar by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 7) The Wedding by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 8) Cold Days by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 9) The Tyrant Wings by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 10) Knightmares by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 11) The Fall and the Fallen by Tom King
Pain and suffering have not been unknown to Bruce Wayne. He has seen death, he has faced it, he has come back from it, and he has helped many avoid it. However, he is not invulnerable to all and nothing. He has weaknesses and writer Tom King looks into exploiting them till his time comes to hand over the writing stick to James Tynion IV upon writing his 85th issue. For his grand finale, he looks into setting the table to a two-part event where everything he’s built up since the beginning is finally tied into an intimate and personal confrontation with one criminal mastermind who will do anything to break the Bat. Collecting issues #75-79 of DC’s Rebirth Batman comic book series, Eisner-Award winning writer Tom King delivers the penultimate story arc to his run called City of Bane Part 1.
What is Batman: City of Bane Part 1 about? The Dark Knight has been on an unstoppable spiral down a dark alley ever since his wedding went south on him. From loved ones being targeted by an assassin to a journey through nightmares manipulated by a mysterious figure, something simply seemed odd for Bruce Wayne. The events he’s witnessed to this day couldn’t have been incidental as everything hints at a madman who has been orchestrating it all from the very beginning. Broken down to his knees as he began to question his commitment to fighting crime, he’s now on a journey towards recovery while his beloved Gotham City is flipped upside down in the hands of Flashpoint Batman, also known as Thomas Wayne.
In a very choppy story-telling style, where plot holes are the norm, writer Tom King looks into preparing the ground to his grand finale by offering readers a glimpse into the newly-formed Gotham City where villains are in control of society through a very special dictatorship: villains go down, heroes go out. The story arc also presents in parallel a seance between Catwoman and Batman as they mend their relationship and offer each other advice and insight into what went wrong between them and what could be from now on. Writer Tom King’s fixation over this relationship that composed a great part of his run as well as his love for the dynamic between Batman and the iconic villain Bane, since the beginning of his time on this canonical comic book series, has now become intoxicating to the franchise and barely succeeds in capturing the complexity of these relationships.
It doesn’t help that this story arc also features a significant death that was, unfortunately, accompanied by a rushed and poor execution (no pun intended). An unconscious feeling tells me that writer Tom King has a very twisted understanding of pacing in regards to story-telling within his Batman comic book run, especially when he is capable of writing incredibly profound and thought-proking stand-alone stories (see The Sheriff of Babylon, for example). Where this first parter might fail in terms of narrative, it, however, endeavours in artwork with a phenomenal contribution coming from multiple artists who have helped Tom King throughout his Batman run. Filled with stunning panels, including full-page and four-square page artworks that present divine artistic sceneries, it would be a shame to not mention the quality in colour, in design, and in vision. from the remainder of the creative team behind this story arc.
Batman: City of Bane Part 1 is a flawed foundation to a grand finale inviting the Caped Crusader to embrace his own shortcomings as a person and as a hero before he enters the stage.