Story-Arc: The Tyrant Wings.
Writer(s): Tom King and Tom Taylor.
Illustrator(s): Mikel Janín, Jorge Fornes, Otto Schmidt and many more!
Colourist(s): Jordie Bellaire and many more!
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles & A Larger World’s Troy Peteri.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Paperback (Read in Single Issues).
Release Date: March 26th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Previously on DC Universe Rebirth’s Batman:
Batman (Vol. 1) I Am Gotham by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 1.5.) Night of the Monster Men by Steve Orlando
Batman (Vol. 2) I Am Suicide by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 3) I Am Bane by Tom King
Batman/The Flash (Vol. 3.5) The Button by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 4) The War of Jokes and Riddles by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 5) Rules of Engagement by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 6) Bride or Burglar by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 7) The Wedding by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 8) The Tyrant Wings by Tom King
Throughout Batman’s canonical comic book runs since the New 52 reboot, it has been common to run into the occasional volume that falls short in terms of consistency and continuity with the inclusion of multiple unrelated stories within the same volume. These transitory volumes have always been a niggle to my conscience as they completely take you out of the ongoing story and invite mixed feelings within the reader as they try to immerse themselves within the story. Does that mean that they are unwelcome guests to our reading lives? Absolutely not. Occasionally, these volumes tend to also allow the reader to explore parallel stories that are sometimes written and drawn by other creative teams other than the main writer and artists of the Batman run. They also give readers a break to delve into themes and ideas that could otherwise never be visited within the run.
What is Batman: The Tyrant Wing about? Collecting Batman #58-60, Batman Annual #3 and Batman: Secret Files, this volume is a mixed bag of goods that teases wonderful stories but fails to come through in the long run. The first story arc written by Tom King is a continuation of the main plot and finally brings into play one of Batman’s most iconic villains, the Penguin. This time around, the Penguin isn’t his usual mob leader self as he’s under the control of the mastermind villain, Bane. While Batman is in an emotional turmoil following the past couple consecutive tragedies he’s had to live through, the latest curveball leads him into madness and solitude. Batman Annual #3 is a story written by Tom Taylor and drawn by Otto Schmidt and focuses on Alfred’s and Bruce Wayne’s long-standing relationship where their love for each other overrules their own self-care. The final special issue is a collection of random stories with different art styles that feel like half-cooked ideas that are lifeless and forgettable, and rightfully so.
The main story arc was too short to carry most of the volume alone. Its introduction of the Penguin is original and successfully delivers the villain’s main characteristics while adding the necessary emotional tension to develop him within three issues. While there is a lot of potential to a full arc around the character, the story limits itself in its use of Batman’s archnemesis to fold over and return to the Bane story arc that was once the main attraction to Tom King’s beginning with Batman’s Rebirth run. While I have found Tom King has evolved greatly as a writer of the Dark Knight ever since he was done with Bane, the return of the one who broke Batman’s back brought back sour memories. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a huge fan of King’s portrayal of Batman’s and Bane’s chemistry together. Their interactions are primitive and dwell in rage, Batman often succumbs to his emotions, especially rage, when he’s up against Bane and Bane’s character is confusing in nature as he conveys leadership and self-destruction at the same time. It also doesn’t help when you have Batman yelling things like “bat-boot”. Good luck selling that one to me again.
The best part of this volume is, however, the Batman Annual #3 written by Tom Taylor and drawn by Otto Schmidt. Surprisingly, these annual issues are usually a collection of different stories with various creative teams but this one was a self-contained and complete story that had a head and a tail to it. It was a delight to see it explore the father and son bond between Bruce Wayne and Alfred, while giving it an edge by giving the billionaire’s butler the chance to show how much he’s willing to give to make sure Gotham’s superhero continues to live another day to deliver his form of justice. The artwork in this one also works in its favour, just like Mikel Janín’s artwork in Tom King’s story arc. The colours are refreshing, the attention to detail is meticulous and the character designs are flawless and iconic. There’s very little you can complain about in that department until you reach some of the mediocre stories in the Batman: Secret Files issue. In fact, their out-of-context stories don’t help in giving the issue any pertinence or right to be present in this volume. At least the next volume is bound to be a return-to-form for Tom King.
Batman: The Tyrant Wing is a mixed bag that struggles to identify itself with a purpose but teases intriguing stories to come, with fantastic artwork direction to complement the whole.