Writer: Tom King
Artists: Jorge Fornes & Dave Stewart
Batman #66 marks Tom King’s return to the book after a brief hiatus. As awkwardly spliced into the run as that was, it’s hard to deny he’s come back swinging. Make no mistake, if you don’t like the way King does Batman, this issue won’t change your mind in the slightest. However, if you’re like me and you do, this issue was wonderful, and the best of this arc so far.
Admittedly, this Knightmares story hasn’t been my favorite. A series of one-shots drawn by different top-tier artists, in theory, should work for me. I love one-shots, Batman, and top-tier artists, and yet the previous issues didn’t leave much of an impression. That changes with this one, in which we’re presented with a simple premise. “The Question” interrogates “Catwoman” regarding her actions in Batman #50. On the surface, this isn’t anything particularly interesting as it’s not uncharted territory narratively. Upon re-reading it, I found much more meat on its bones due to really understanding that this is not a conversation between The Question and Catwoman. It’s a conversation Bruce is having with himself. Every piece of dialogue has varying amounts of layers, due to this only being Bruce’s perception. Selina’s thoughts are not her own, they’re just reflections of Bruce. This is the way Bruce perceives that Selina perceives him.
That’s not to say that I have no criticisms. As interesting as it is, this is still only part four in a seven-part dream sequence. I put the issue down and loved the hell out of it, and yet I wasn’t entirely looking forward to the next one. Dream sequences are tough. They allow for a more abstract view of characters, but by their nature, they can’t shove the plot forward very much. With that said, it may sound as if this issue was mediocre, but I haven’t even gotten to the best part.
I’d be remiss If I didn’t talk about the real star of the issue, Jorge Fornes. An artist who I saw once, years ago, on the pages of Amazing X-Men. Honestly, he was fine back then but he didn’t stand out from the crowd. Unbeknownst to me, Fornes has been slowly and quietly building himself up to be one of the best artists in the business. When I originally flipped to his pages in that Batman issue he split with Mikel Janin, I audibly gasped. No exaggeration. Now he’s got a whole issue to really flex his muscles. Every page of this book is a marvel. His splash pages are gorgeous, and I’d readily hang any one of them on my wall. His more subdued pages are incredibly well thought out, and his storytelling is near unrivaled. I don’t know where you’ve been, Jorge Fornes, but never leave again.
This issue could be unremarkable, and it could be just another Knightmare issue, but it’s better than that. Instead, Batman #66, as a single issue, is a joy. Pair Tom King doing what he does best with Jorge Fornes, an out-of-the-blue modern master, and you get magic. This book takes a somewhat middling story arc and injects life into it. Do yourself a favor and give it a shot.
Batman (2016-) #66
Batman #66, as a single issue, is a joy. Pair Tom King doing what he does best with Jorge Fornes, an out of the blue modern master, and you get magic. This book takes a somewhat middling story arc and injects life into it. Do yourself a favor and give it a shot.