Batman (Volume 2) I Am Suicide by Tom King (Rebirth)

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“You are happy. You are brave. You can always stop.”

— Tom King, Batman Rebirth (Volume 2) I Am Suicide

    Following the events of I Am Gotham, this volume builds itself around the formation of a Suicide Squad and its task of capturing a certain person of interest that can save Gotham Girl from her predicament. The last two issues also features a special two-part story that embarks in the love-hate, and very complex, relationship between Batman and Catwoman. I solemnly swear that this is a step-up from Tom King’s first volume, but I still feel like the story had issues at several moments, hence dragging my overall enjoyment downhill. Although every official website indicates that issues 9 to 15 are the only ones included in this volume, I thought I might as well throw in the Annual #1 that was released midway throughout this storyarc. I’ll rectify this, if it ends up being wrong, when Annual #1 gets integrated in a future collection (if ever).

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    After the disastrous (in every way possible) Night of the Monster Men crossover event, I think a lot has been learned and a completely different approach has been undertaken by Tom King. Right off the bat, the first issue lays out a brand new structure and tone to King’s storytelling. I was honestly shocked by the change, both in dialogue and artwork, but managed to find something interesting out of it. In particular, the use of a narration in the form of a correspondence between two particular characters was truly fascinating. Two issues in, I already felt compelled by the ideas that were being set up and wanted more from newly-introduced characters like Catwoman and Bane. However, there’s this use of repetition and this throwback reference to Batman: Knightfall (Part One: Broken Bat) that was oddly introduced and felt overwhelmingly uninspiring. In fact, I couldn’t grasp the purpose behind the “monologue” coming from Batman, as it felt completely out of character. Tom King also continues to use repetition in the two-part story “Rooftops” with Catwoman and Batman. I guess this can be seen as an attempt to experiment the technique and see if it fits the persona of the characters. So far, I’m not too thrilled by it and had difficulty embracing it. It honestly threw me off and made it just so hard to wrap my head around the writing at certain key moments in the story.

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    While the focus of this volume should’ve essentially been around the search and rescue mission, Tom King ended up taking multiple roads at the same time and tried to give us too much in too little time. From origin stories for both Bane and Catwoman, there was also an attempt to introduce and build the personalities of each of the misfits that constituted the team Batman created. Even the head of Task Force X felt absent throughout this volume, even though she’s the one that “made” this whole problem happen in the first place. It would’ve been a much more tightly-knitted story if Bane wasn’t left in the background and only served as a plot mechanism that ended up being neglected in order to put Catwoman in the forefront. I guess I can reconcile myself knowing that Bane will be put in the spotlight in the next volume and his presence in I Am Suicide was simply a teaser for bigger things along the line.

    Unfortunately, the resolution we get for the whole “I Am Suicide” story was absolutely unsatisfying. You can tell that the panels that were supposed to inspire you fell short and that the words that accompanied them didn’t deliver the thrill that Tom King would have wanted for us. As I mentioned before, this volume also contains a two-part story featuring Catwoman and Batman. Honestly, this was a pretty diamond in the sea of low-karat gold in the volume, especially when you often felt like “I Am Suicide” made too many mistakes for your taste. “Rooftops” explores the relationship between Bats and Cats, and boy, was it pretty solid. The complexity of their relationship, as any fan knows, is one that can be quite tricky if not handled properly. Here, we get a really nice portrayal of their chemistry and a decent glimpse into the impossible through one dark night. Both artwork and dialogue do a brilliant job in extracting the very essence that makes these two characters so complicated. You just can’t help but be entertained by the connection that these two try to bring to life for once in their lives and wish they could have forever. As I previously mentioned, there was a particular sequence where the whole use of repetition was re-used, but it wasn’t as disturbing as it was throughout the main storyarc.

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    Initially, I didn’t know if Annual #1 was accidentally forgotten by everyone, but after reading it, I feel like its absence is probably due to the fact that it barely had anything to do with the storyarc. It’s a collection of short stories that go with the Holiday theme (which coincides with the time at which it was released). There are pretty amazing writers that are featured in this collection (Paul Dini, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Steve Orlando and Scott Bryan Wilson) and most of the stories they tell are quite powerful. I liked that the themes of peace, change and generosity were tackled in various way. This was actually much better than what we get in DC Rebirth Holiday Special #1 , and it even had some stories that were a lot darker than expected! You also get the introduction to one of the best members of the Bat-family! This character is one that you rarely see nowadays and I’ll let you discover the fellow for yourself. Or… Spoiler (Highlight To See) : «Oh, aren’t you a curious one! It was none other than Ace the Bat-Hound! »

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    In the end, I Am Suicide is definitely a step in the right direction. There are still issues that need to be addressed, but at the tempo Tom King and his crew of artists are going at, things should be looking good pretty soon. If there’s one solid element to this series at the moment, it’s definitely the artwork. As previously mentioned, a new style is adapted in this storyarc. It plays with the typical panel distribution, it combines a creative narrative with an ongoing sequence of actions and it establishes the right tone by toying around with the colour and the shadows. I honestly have no complaints in that department, and in fact, I hope they continue to strive for success and creativity when it comes to the design of characters and the way they want to tell the story. From the way things are shaping up, Batman (Volume 3) I Am Bane seems to be set on course to deliver something quite enthralling and worthy for fame. As always, I plan on continuing this series. So far, things have only been going swell; although a bit rocky.

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Check out my review of Batman (Volume 1) I Am Gotham (Rebirth) here.
Did you read Batman (volume 2) I Am Suicide (Rebirth) yet? What did you think about it?
You haven’t read it, you say?
Let’s fix that right away!
You can pre-order your copy @Amazon Canada / Indigo Chapters right here!
Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below and follow us so you don’t miss any of our reviews!

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆/

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16 thoughts on “Batman (Volume 2) I Am Suicide by Tom King (Rebirth)

  1. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    I have to be honest, I have completely fallen away from superheroes over the course of the last few years. I have gone through a bit of burn out with all of the movies and shows that keep popping up. It seems like everything has a spinoff as well. But with that said, I am still always impressed with your amazing talent at dissecting comics and GNs. So well done! I love manga and somme GNs, but only recently started featuring them on my blog as I am sure you noticed. I just struggle with breaking them down haha.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      You know what’s funny? The fact that what TV shows/movies have barely scratched the surface of what the superhero world has to offer. If in some twisted and crazy world most classic superhero stories in the form of comics were ever to have a movie adaptation, you’d be surprised by the number of them and the link between each and every one of them! Because I’m a sucker for Batman and basically any comic book superhero/story getting adapted, I’ll always be happy to see another show/movie pop out of nowhere. However, I totally understand how overwhelming it might seem for a lot of people. It’s quite the sensation nowadays, and it sometimes makes you wonder if “original” movies/shows are simply dying or just not getting as much light on them. I do see Hollywood going for reboot of A LOT of classic movies in the past years, so that’s not a good sign too…

      Thank you though for your flattering words, but you too do a wonderful job in reviewing the mangas and graphic novels you’d shared with us so far! I actually think that I’m a little loose in the way I’m reviewing them, but that’s intentional cause I REAAALLY don’t want to keep a bunch of people who’ve never heard or read what I’m reading away from my review. I want to try and pique their interest. If I started going in-depth even more, I’m pretty sure a lot of people wouldn’t bother reading what I have to say, UNLESS they’ve read it and want to know more (which would almost be a 1% of the WordPress community hahahh. What I like to do with graphic novel/comic review is to see them just like any other novel with the added pictures. And you know what they say about pictures. A picture is worth ten thousand words. So anytime I’m reading something in this medium, I keep both “way to perceive” in mind and see how well the story is delivered and if the writer’s intention has been successful translated through his work!

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. LizScanlon says:

    I agree with Danielle- you did a great job at dissecting a GN 🙂 The graphics in this one actually look decent and even though there were some niggles, it seems there was also some really good bits about it 🙂

    Batman is probably one of the superheroes I don’t mind watching… and my least favorite is Captain America… I get an awful case of ‘roll-eye’ whenever he’s involved 😀 hahaha…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Thanks Liz! 😀 Hopefully all the good bits will become much more dominant in the next volumes to come. Quite glad to hear that Batman gets more love than Captain America from you!! 😀 😀 I can also see how Captain America can get on your nerves. His character in comics are however a bit more… different. I’ve read the comic book that inspired the Civil War movie, and man is Captain America a completely different guy from what Chris Evans’ gives us. 😉

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • LizScanlon says:

        Oh really? Ha… I’m yet to read a comic with Cap America … in the movies… yeahh… I can’t deal 😀 hahaha… Good to know it’s different in the comics though, now I might give the poor character a chance 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. healed1337 says:

    I Am Suicide started off really well, but a few missteps held it back from being as good as it could have been. The whole story arc is little more than build-up in the end. Also, while the change in Batman’s origin story didn’t bother me too much, it was controversial and I fully understand why. In any case, I enjoyed the first story arc a lot more. Detective Comics is the better series though – it’s pretty much a Batman team book and it’s definitely taking advantage of the possible awesomeness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chris Evans says:

    Nice review mate! I know you weren’t overly impressed with the first volume and glad that you at least enjoyed these issues a little more (and continued on after that awful awful “Monster Men” crossover, I found it rather painful to get through myself).

    I’d say overall I’ve been enjoying this run but still room for improvement and totally agree the most recent issues are a step in the right direction. On a side note, did you read the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad crossover at all? I thought it was pretty good, nothing deep or profound but good fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

      Thanks man! I’m definitely curious about I Am Bane. I think it might be a game-changer, unless the issues that are yet to be released drag the whole story into the grave. I haven’t checked out JL vs SS since it wasn’t something DIRECTLY related to the Batman or Detective Comics series. They do mention about it in I Am Suicide at some point. You’ve piqued my curiosity now. I might have to try it out. 😀 I’m honestly only following Batman and Detective Comics, and I have to say that James Tynion IV’s run feels much more superior to what Tom King has offered so far. Have you been following that series? I should definitely put up my reviews of that series too.. 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chris Evans says:

        I have indeed been following the Detective Comics rebirth series, I very much been enjoying that and look forward to your thoughts on that run. I’ve been a bit lax in reviewing some of the rebirth stuff I’ve been following and plan to start looking at that a little more. All in all I’m optimistic that King will really start hitting his stride with Batman.

        I think you would definitely have fun with JL vs SS (I think the collected edition is due out soon) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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