Batman #81 – Tom King, Writer; John Romita Jr., Penciller; Klaus Janson, Inker; Tomeu Morey, Colorist; Mitch Gerads, Backup Artist
Ratings: Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: As we enter the final act of Tom King’s Batman run, Batman and his family have returned to Gotham in Batman #81 to take the city back from Bane. But oddly, the title character of “City of Bane” has been mostly off-screen, and it’s Thomas Wayne who has played the role of the main villain so far. When we last saw him, Thomas was sent by Bane to execute Damian for Bruce’s incursion into his city, but he’s struggling with the decision. Damian doesn’t give him the chance, though, as he quickly gets through and is joined by the Bat-family. This is the best part of the issue, as watching the various Bat-kids destroy Thomas is highly entertaining.
The segment involving Cass will likely win a lot of fans. But I am wondering why Huntress is here – does she even know the Bat-family particularly well? This isn’t Helena Wayne, it’s Barbara’s murder-happy frenemy, and aside from a connection to Dick, I don’t really see why she’d be pulled into this. Thomas makes a good villain, but I’m more than ready to see the Bat-family descend on him.
The other segment continues the scenes of Batman and Catwoman ripping their way through Bane’s army of villains, but it adds a major wrinkle – in the reveal of a traitor/spy in Bane’s ranks that will have fans of James Tynion’s Detective Comics run very happy. It’s been a while since this particular plot point was picked up on.
But the narration also conflicts with scenes in the comic at points, particularly with Alfred. Bruce seems to think Alfred escaped, while the Bat-kids are dreading telling Bruce the truth and Thomas thinks Bruce willingly sacrificed Alfred. So what’s the truth? It feels like whatever the reveal is at the end, it’ll be a bit of an anticlimax.
Either it was all for nothing or the ambiguity has been building to a reveal of the same thing we saw two months ago. There’s a strange backup with Harvey Bullock half-naked and singing a weird song while wearing Joker makeup, and I’m not sure what to make of it, but the art by both Romita Jr. and Gerads is top-notch, even if the story feels scattered.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.