Batman: City of Bane Part 2 by Tom King

details
Title: Batman.
Volume: 13.
Story Arc
: City of Bane Part 2.
Universe: Rebirth.
Writer(s): Tom King.
Penciler(s): John Romita Jr., Mitch Gerads, Mikel Janín, Jorge Fornes, Hugo Petrus & Mike Norton.
Inker(s): Klaus Janson & Mitch Gerads.
Colourist(s): Tomeu Morey, Mitch Gerads, Jordie Bellaire & Dave Stewart.
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles.
PublisherDC Comics.

Format
: Single Issues.
Release Date: July 14th, 2020.
Pages: 184.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781779502841.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.

Previously on the 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.
Batman (Vol. 12) City of Bane Part 1 by Tom King.

thoughts

This is the final story-arc by writer Tom King for the canonical Batman comic book run before passing on the torch to writer James Tynion IV. When I picked up the first issues of this series, I was truly disappointed by his writing style, his ideas, and the direction he wanted to go. It didn’t help that he introduced two strange characters (Gotham and Gotham Girl) and had a huge fascination with Bane that translated into overly-stretched out story-arcs featuring him and his manipulative plotting to destroy Batman. While writer Tom King succeeded in delivering some interesting ideas throughout his comic book run, his best work remained in self-contained stand-alone stories outside of his Batman comic book series. Those stories gave me hope and led me to stick around. Now it is time to see if he can pull off a miracle with his last Batman story and allow his departure to be glorious and respectable. Collecting issues #80-85 of DC’s Rebirth Batman comic book series, as well as Batman: Annual #4, Eisner-Award winning writer Tom King delivers the final story arc to his run called City of Bane Part 2.

What is Batman: City of Bane Part 2 about? With Gotham now reined in by Flashpoint Batman and Gotham Girl, the whole city left under the control of the criminal underground, it is now time for Batman and Catwoman to return to their city for their final confrontation with Bane and his army. While some allies still stand their ground throughout this war, the ultimate battle lies in Batman’s acceptance of his purpose, his motivation, and his life. However, his return is not without a plan. He remains prepared but will not be ready for a couple of surprises patiently waiting for him, including the death of a loved one. The real question now is if he’ll let Bane break him once again or punch his way to saving himself and his city from the prison they are trapped in.

“I swear by the spirit of my parents to protect your life. By spending the rest of my life warring against anything that might cause you pain.”

— Tom King

The story kicks off with the arrival of Batman and Catwoman to Gotham. Their entrance isn’t accompanied by a bang but instead limited itself to be tamed with little hint of any real emotions stimulated. The fact that this part was drawn by John Romita Jr. didn’t help either as his blocky style was dull and disenchanting. Several plot twists are then delivered with the help of Tom King’s greatest artistic collaborators (Mitch Gerads, Mikel Janín, and Jorge Fornes) who all succeed in presenting stellar artwork that could merit no form of criticism but only praise and admiration. But art alone couldn’t save the choppy story-telling by writer Tom King. As he builds up the climactic confrontation between Batman and Bane, he uninspiringly reveals the Caped Crusader’s strategies to take back his city while also giving us the much-needed exposition regarding Flashpoint Batman’s journey to becoming Batman’s nemesis through a reverse-chronological narrative. This sudden shift in the main antagonist was also uncalled for and quietly destroyed Bane’s relevance in the grand scheme of things.

As much as I wished this final act would deliver everything his last story-arcs were missing, this choppy ending barely scratched the itch and varied enormously in terms of quality. Some of the best moments were spare and were mostly found in Bruce Wayne’s speedy mourning as he dealt with the devastating loss he suddenly discovers. The rest of the narrative focused around Batman, Catwoman, Bane, and Flashpoint Batman failed to inspire and invite the reader to connect and appreciate the resolution. If it weren’t for some incredibly visionary artistic direction, a lot of this would have simply slipped through my consciousness and entered the realm of the forgotten. At least, the Annual issue, despite having nothing to do with the story itself, allowed for a quick and solid chronicle by Alfred Pennyworth of the ludicrous yet heroic stunts that he witnessed Batman accomplish on a daily basis, from killing dragons to scoring a touchdown. The epilogue chapter hinting readers of writer James Tynion IV’s upcoming story was also a wonderful tease for a fan burnt out on writer Tom King’s abstract and flawed ideas with Batman.

Batman: City of Bane Part 2 is an unsatisfying finale to writer Tom King’s Batman comic book run.


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30 comments

  • What can I say, Lashaan? I’m sorry you had to slog through the whole series of King slaughtering the best in Batman 😜 I won’t stoop to telling you “I told you so,” because I’m magnanimous that way 🤣🤣🤣
    Great review, as always! 😀

    I dearly hope Tynion’s run will restore my optimism in Rebirth. I’m still waiting for a new exceptional story, like Long Halloween or Hush…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pfft hahahaha Nothing surprising there. If you had continued, you’d probably have loss a couple of IQ points too. 😛

      Oh man, I feel like those long-run story-arcs are less likely to happen today and that there are better chances of them happening in stand-alone self-contained stories…

      Speaking of which, have you heard, or allow me to tell you that Tom King will be writing a stand-alone 12-issues story for Rorschach? Set 35 years after Alan Moore’s story. If only there was a way to make you try it out. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  • I saw the 2stars and was like “Uh oh, this wasn’t any better”. I don’t even know who Tom King is, but whenever I read his name from your blog, I know what to expect, at least in terms of Batman. It would seem you have met your Frank Miller/Superman combo.

    Who is Flashpoint Batman and what badguy does he turn into?

    Liked by 2 people

  • I gave up on King’s Batman just before the “Knightmares” story line. I just got tired of reading a Batman book that no longer felt like a Batman book, if you know what I mean. I enjoyed the Mister Freeze and KGBeast stories in Volume 8: “Cold Days”, but felt the quality drop after that. Well done for sticking with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ouch…haha…yep, this is pretty much how I thought you’d feel about the remainder of “City of Bane” Lashaan! The whole arc failed to live up to my expectations as well and wasn’t helped by the wild inconsistency in terms of the art. With the choppy writing, I think Tom King simply ran out of time and number of issues with the truncated early finish of his run. I enjoyed most of King’s run but I agree that he’s perhaps better able to deliver with the self-contained maxi series (I’m looking forward to Strange Adventures when collected and Batman/Catwoman…although that’s now supposedly going to be out of continuity).

    Tynion’s Batman has been enjoyable so far but a bit more run-of-the-mill, give King his due he certainly has some out-of-the-box ideas. Man, I love Jorge Fornes – he should have done a LOT more Batman (he did a few issues of Daredevil over at Marvel though son no huge loss of his talent)…psyched that he’s re-teaming with Tom King for the 12-issue Rorschach series (have you heard about that?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too think that something was off and that the sudden decision to cut short his run became so much more obvious. I too still look forward to those stories too, especially Strange Adventures and Rorschach though. I do hope he can continue to build on his experience and his past successes,

      Liked by 1 person

  • I have said it before and I’ll say it again – the way you sneak harsh criticism in between the lines and then cloak it with your glorious writing is COMMENDABLE!! 😍😍🤣🤣😍

    SERIOUSLY! If I was in your place my review would’ve looked something like this –

    ABSOLUTE TRASH. DON’T READ. EVER. 🤷🏻‍♀️🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  • Aw, that’s too bad that this was such a letdown, but I always really appreciate the honesty you put into your reviews. 🙂
    I’m pushing through a novel I’m reading right now that I want to abandon due to wayyyyy too slow of a plot and very “meh” characters so I feel your pain! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I appreciate it a lot. 🥰 I totally understand that desire to DNF. I don’t ever do it too, even when I know it can’t redeem itself before the end. 😂 Hope you’ll be able to pick up something better afterward though! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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