Batman (2016-) #62
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerards
Tom King’s ‘Knightmares’ arc continues with Batman going toe-to-toe with Professor Pyg. Some time ago, when talking about his plans for the remainder of his 100-issue long run on Batman, he revealed that he would be doing a series of loosely connected one-shots called the ‘Knightmares’. It a series that will, supposedly, scratch at the soul of Batman. To achieve this, he enlisted quite a few artists to help him out. Mitch Gerards, Jorge Fornes and Yanick Paquette are all on board, as well as some other talented artists. Gerards is the one doing this issue and there couldn’t be a better pick for the job.
As mentioned, the villain of the month is the insane Professor Pyg, who has somehow managed to capture Batman and hang him upside down with a whole bunch of pig carcasses. The majority of the issue is told through narration captions, offering us a closer look at Batman’s thought pattern.
First things first- Mitch Gerards’ art is amazing. The complete issue takes place in a single location – a huge hall with loads of pig carcasses, and loads of (pig?) blood on the floor. Gerards does a great job at crafting a really frightening scene, but also at portraying a disoriented and intoxicated character. There are some visible, real emotions on Batman’s face, with Gerard’s famous distorted-coloring effect further amplifying the feeling of confusion. The art is just awesome.
The majority of the issue has both Batman and the reader confused. Batman points out on numerous occasions that he is not aware as to how and when Pyg captured him. As the issue progresses, he begins to remember things from the previous arc. Bane. Penguin. Alfred. His father. Red eyes. All of this just confuses him (and the reader) even more. It sets up the story for a potentially nice payoff at the end of the issue.
Unfortunately, we never get that payoff. The whole issue builds up to a really huge and disappointing nothing. There’s this big build-up that just ends and leaves you thinking “well, I guess that was… something.” It’s really hard to understand what King was trying to say with this. In a way, he really did scratch on the ‘soul of Batman’ as we got to see how his mind works during a crisis and under drugs. But is it really something new? Is that process enough to carry a whole story in a way that the ending, the resolution, doesn’t even matter? No, not really.
Sadly, Gerard’s talent is wasted on a weird and unsatisfying story. I am usually a big fan of King’s shorter stories, but this one was a huge letdown. It didn’t bring anything new and fresh to the table, all the while failing as a standalone story. It might end up being more important in the long run since, after all, it is a part of a (loosely connected) arc. But that doesn’t change the fact that, as a one-shot, it’s kinda mediocre.
Batman (2016-) #62
Sadly, Gerards’ talent is wasted on a weird and unsatisfying story. It might end up being more important in the longer run since, after all, it is a part of an (loosely connected) arc. But that doesn’t change the fact that, as a one-shot, it’s kinda mediocre.