Batman (2016-) #83
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire
My fears of Tom King’s final arc on Batman being a flop is almost nonexistent at this point, and that’s mainly attributed to how great the last few issues of “City of Bane” have been. Batman #83 follows suit, as it is a harrowing – yet beautiful – issue.
Earlier within this arc, Bane has taken Gotham hostage, hence the name of the arc. He also said that if any of the Bat-Family tries to interfere with his plans, there will be major consequences. Damian Wayne was caught by Thomas Wayne – from the Flashpoint timeline where he became Batman and Bruce died. Damian was tied to a chair and watched as Bane had snapped the neck of the faithful Butler. All the while, Bruce had no idea this happened, as he heard from Alfred that his plan to take Gotham back was set to go and Alfred was safe. That was obviously a lie and it’s explained in this issue as to why Alfred wasn’t honest.
In the last issue, Bruce was shot by his own father in a rather shocking moment I didn’t expect. With that said, Batman #83 begins with Bruce waking up in a darkly lit room as a recording of Alfred reciting poetry plays. From there, our caped crusader finally learns the fate of his greatest ally. The man who raised him, cared for him through and through, laid there lifeless in his arms. It’s truly heartbreaking any time you see Batman cry.
I think the way this issue plays out definitely makes up for the way Alfred’s death was handled. There was so much emotion within the pages of this comic due to the beautiful writing and art of Tom King and Mikel Janin, respectively. The only dialogue up until the last two pages comes from the recording Alfred left for his son. He recounts Bruce’s childhood and how he always loved to see him smile and wanted him to live a good life. Alfred also talks about how proud he is of Bruce and how he sees him as the man he always wanted him to be. I thoroughly enjoyed Alfred’s monologue. Tom King always did a fantastic job whenever he’d write for the character, in my opinion. Everything that was said felt genuine. King’s dialogue often leaves a lot to be desired, but sometimes it excels at capturing true emotion.
I also think Mikel Janin was the perfect artist to have for this issue. He did an excellent job capturing the facial expressions and body language or an emotionally decimated Bruce. You can see the hurt in his face. The anguish. This is not an easy task to do. The fact that Janin pulls it off so effortlessly is astounding. I’ve said this so many times, but Mikel Janin will go down as one of the greatest Batman artists of all time. Also, the colors by Jordie Bellaire were fantastic, as usual. She’s probably my favorite colorist in the industry right now and she coincided excellently with Janin’s line work. Janin’s art is a lot more dependent on coloring, compared to most artists. If the coloring is bad, so is the rest of the artwork. But if it’s amazing – like it is here – the art shines so much brighter and has more depth and impact.
It’s pretty amazing to me how so much is happening in City of Bane and there are only 2 issues left. I’m really nervous, yet excited. Still, as I have said in a previous review, I can’t see this arc ending in a way that satisfies everyone. With that said, I’m having a good time with Batman. I am very eager to see what happens next.
Batman #83 is heartbreaking and poetic. Bruce's reaction to the death of his butler, best friend and father figure is polarizing. Tom King's writing in this issue is fantastic and is perfectly matched with art from Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire.
Bat-fans, this is an issue you should read. If you felt the way Alfred died was unfair, this issue makes up for it in tenfold. Check it out.