Batman: City of Bane Part 1 by Tom King

details
Title: Batman.
Volume: 12.
Story Arc
: City of Bane Part 1.
Universe: Rebirth.
Writer(s): Tom King.
Illustrator(s): Tony S. Daniel, Mitch Gerads & Mikel Janín.
Inker(s): Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, Norm Rapmund, Mikel Janín, Clay Mann & Seth Mann.
Colourist(s): Tomeu Morey, Mitch Gerads & Jordie Bellaire.
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles.
Publisher: DC Comics.

Format
:
Single Issues.
Release Date: April 14th, 2020.
Pages: 144.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401299583.
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
Batman (Vol. 11) The Fall and the Fallen by Tom King

thoughts

Pain and suffering have not been unknown to Bruce Wayne. He has seen death, he has faced it, he has come back from it, and he has helped many avoid it. However, he is not invulnerable to all and nothing. He has weaknesses and writer Tom King looks into exploiting them till his time comes to hand over the writing stick to James Tynion IV upon writing his 85th issue. For his grand finale, he looks into setting the table to a two-part event where everything he’s built up since the beginning is finally tied into an intimate and personal confrontation with one criminal mastermind who will do anything to break the Bat. Collecting issues #75-79 of DC’s Rebirth Batman comic book series, Eisner-Award winning writer Tom King delivers the penultimate story arc to his run called City of Bane Part 1.

What is Batman: City of Bane Part 1 about? The Dark Knight has been on an unstoppable spiral down a dark alley ever since his wedding went south on him. From loved ones being targeted by an assassin to a journey through nightmares manipulated by a mysterious figure, something simply seemed odd for Bruce Wayne. The events he’s witnessed to this day couldn’t have been incidental as everything hints at a madman who has been orchestrating it all from the very beginning. Broken down to his knees as he began to question his commitment to fighting crime, he’s now on a journey towards recovery while his beloved Gotham City is flipped upside down in the hands of Flashpoint Batman, also known as Thomas Wayne.

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In a very choppy story-telling style, where plot holes are the norm, writer Tom King looks into preparing the ground to his grand finale by offering readers a glimpse into the newly-formed Gotham City where villains are in control of society through a very special dictatorship: villains go down, heroes go out. The story arc also presents in parallel a seance between Catwoman and Batman as they mend their relationship and offer each other advice and insight into what went wrong between them and what could be from now on. Writer Tom King’s fixation over this relationship that composed a great part of his run as well as his love for the dynamic between Batman and the iconic villain Bane, since the beginning of his time on this canonical comic book series, has now become intoxicating to the franchise and barely succeeds in capturing the complexity of these relationships.

It doesn’t help that this story arc also features a significant death that was, unfortunately, accompanied by a rushed and poor execution (no pun intended). An unconscious feeling tells me that writer Tom King has a very twisted understanding of pacing in regards to story-telling within his Batman comic book run, especially when he is capable of writing incredibly profound and thought-proking stand-alone stories (see The Sheriff of Babylon, for example). Where this first parter might fail in terms of narrative, it, however, endeavours in artwork with a phenomenal contribution coming from multiple artists who have helped Tom King throughout his Batman run. Filled with stunning panels, including full-page and four-square page artworks that present divine artistic sceneries, it would be a shame to not mention the quality in colour, in design, and in vision. from the remainder of the creative team behind this story arc.

Batman: City of Bane Part 1 is a flawed foundation to a grand finale inviting the Caped Crusader to embrace his own shortcomings as a person and as a hero before he enters the stage.


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14 comments

  • What could I possibly say that I haven’t said before about Tom King and his very Freudian destructive impulses? I do wonder why they keep him on Batman (I’m quite sure DC will come to regret this decision if it doesn’t already…) One of the two stars clearly belongs to the artistic team, so… I feel for you, Lashaan, I really do! 😜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha it was quite a rollercoaster of a Batman run. Even Grant Morrison’s run didn’t feel this divisive… At least the next volume is his last while James Tynion IV continues to write Batman since issue #86. Hopefully he finds a nice groove and knows how to write a good one… Consistently. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  • Yep, I had a feeling that you would definitely not be enamoured with this volume Lashaan (and part 2 will most likely not change your mind). I wasn’t enthralled with City of Bane myself and had higher expectations and I think perhaps the reduction of issues in Tom King’s Batman run – even though he will be spinning things off into Batman/Catowman – hurt it.

    I did enjoy the majority of King’s run though and although Tynion’s run so far has been decent it’s more run-of-the mill than anything revelatory. It’s only early days to be fair and I look forward to seeing how Tynion’s long term story plans turn out but I do find myself missing the deeper and more thoughtful quality Tom King brought to the book. It’s going to be interesting to see how Batman/Catwoman pans out and how it’s received given how divisive King’s work on Batman became.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. I’ve lowered my expectations as much as I can for this finale ever since you mentioned that you weren’t enthused yourself, knowing that you appreciated his run much more than me. If anything, I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on his Superman: Up in the Sky graphic novel with Andy Kubert! Have you read it? I look forward to exchanging notes once I get around to writing a review!

      I haven’t yet dared try Tynion IV’s Batman yet as I continue to compile the single issues upon their release. I really do hope that he’ll find his groove and give us something original soon… I think I never gave any of his work a solid five star yet. They always seemed to get stuck at 4: decent but not mind-blowing/thought-provoking…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t read Up in the Sky actually, although I am totally aware of it – I’m going to await your thoughts on that first I think. Not that I don’t think it won’t be any good but I’m very much invested in what Bendis is doing with Superman at the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Wow, you’ve had a bad run of Batman lately. Here’s hoping it turns around soon. And as you said, at least it had some great artwork. Can’t always make up for a lack of story, but it’s something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. It’s always going to be like this. The good always comes with the bad with an iconic character that has been around for 80 years. It all just depends on the writer and how he perceives the character. But you do remind me that I should try and pick up something that I know will be good, just to remind me that good Batman stories do exist despite the modern stories! 😛

      Like

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