Story Arc: The Fall and the Fallen.
Writer(s): Tom King, Andy Kubert, Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Mairghread Scott, Steve Orlando & Tim Seeley.
Illustrator(s): Mikel Janin, Jorge Fornes, Amancay Nahuelpan, Carlos d’Anda, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Eduardo Risso & Patrick Gleason.
Inker(s): Cam Smith.
Colourist(s): Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Luis Guerrero, Tomeu Morey, Dave Stewart & John Kalisz.
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles, Steve Wands, Andworld Design, John Workman & Tom Napolitano.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Single Issues.
Release Date: January 14th, 2020.
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) Cold Days by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 9) The Tyrant Wings by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 10) Knightmares by Tom King
The Dark Knight has faced challenges of all kinds in his life, surmounting them with more bravery and modesty than humankind could ever possess. Among the obstacles he’s faced, the physical strain that comes with every act of heroism remains quintessential to understanding the pain and suffering that is carried around by Gotham’s greatest saviour. But only some know how to get inside Bruce Wayne’s head and destroy him psychologically. To play mind tricks and to exploit his greatest fears by manipulating his emotions is not something that even Batman could overcome with his gadgets. Eisner Award-winning writer Tom King teams up with artists Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes to continue another chapter in Batman’s saga, where he faces a traumatic, personal, and psychological battle against an unlikely foe.
What is Batman: The Fall and the Fallen about? Collecting Batman issues #70-74 and Batman: Secret Files #2, this story arc picks up where things were left off as Batman wakes up from a oneiric contraption forcing him into going through nightmares somewhat related to his recent repeated experiences of trauma. From a miserable wedding event to the tragic shooting of a beloved member of the Bat Family, the Caped Crusader finds himself in an ugly and vicious cycle filled with rage and confusion, all orchestrated by one person who wishes to break the Bat beyond the physical torment that was once inflicted on him. At the heart of this devastating plan dealt out by unseen hands is the return of Bruce Wayne’s father from the Flashpoint Universe. While the mystery alone is killer, it’s what’s about to unfold that will be the most mortifying.
Pseudo-poetic and literary, writer Tom King falls down a pit of repetitious creativity with his latest story arc embracing his greatest flaws, notably his choppy story-telling. Told in five parts, The Fall and the Fallen begins by having Batman steamroll through countless villains who are doing Bane’s bidding right in Arkham Asylum. Right when the story begins to spark some sort of originality, it falls back on flashbacks as it presents his current emotional state which is at the heart of the chaos occurring right inside his mind. While it is impressive to see Batman and Bane—a villain that writer Tom King has obsessively used during his comic book run; while failing to impress me so far—go at it with no restraint, the dialogue and narration is ultimately distractful and blurs the reader in his ability to understand what’s actually going on or if the story is even going anywhere, especially when some of the key character’s have incomprehensible motives.
Despite this story arc serving as a recapitulation of the past events that have slowly cracked Batman’s self-control, it is essentially the foundation of the upcoming two-part event that will mark the end of writer Tom King’s Batman run. Nonetheless, the artwork remains stellar with artists Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes working together in unison. While the former was assigned the present time events where things seemed to occur without any confusion, the latter seemed to have scenes that were more likely to be illusions or nightmares lived by Batman, with no assurance that they actually occurred. Fornes’ artwork is also a bit thicker, heavier, and less detailed to accentuate the action scenes, while Janin’s visuals excelled in splash pages with a touch more emotion and profoundness to convey personal significance.
While it felt like the whole story was being dragged through the mud—or just on the back of a horse in the middle of a desert—there were some interesting ideas conveyed in the form of a metaphor that can be understood in the childhood books that Bruce Wayne loved to read. His understanding of it allows for an interesting interpretation of his way of life. Unfortunately, the final issue, Batman: Secret Files #2, was an unnecessary addition filled with short stories where villains try to take down Batman. It is safe to say that none of these stories by various different writers and artists had anything significant to contribute to the story afoot.
Batman: The Fall and the Fallen is a messy yet artistic arc setting up the pieces to an inevitable confrontation told through literary metaphors.