Writer: Tom King
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Klaus Janson
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
City of Bane? I think not. Gotham City has been and will always be the City of Batman and after a lengthy rehabilitation it is finally time for Batman and Catwoman to let the current Gotham administration know who truly is in charge. Batman #80 begins the second half of the City of Bane storyline and if this issue is any indication it won’t be Bane’s city for much longer. Since he took over the book with DC Rebirth it feels like King has been orchestrating this eventual conflict between Bane and Batman. Yes, there have been side stories and intermissions for other tales but the constant theme has been a retelling of the Breaking of the Bat storyline from the ‘90s. Yet rather than Batman’s back this time Bane broke Batman’s heart and confidence. But both have seemingly been restored and now all of the pieces are beginning to fall into place. Now it is finally time to bring this chapter of Batman vs. Bane to a fitting end.
Batman #80 has an absolutely brilliant opening sequence. On a rainy Gotham night officers Pyg and Dent are rousing a mustached miscreant who dares to be out past curfew. Unbeknownst to the two vile officers of Bane’s law they are rousing Matches Malone, the alternate identity of the Batman, and Batman lets them know whose town they are really in. The issue only picks up from there as the Bat and the Cat work their way through the town taking down the criminal underworld as a signal that they have returned and that Batman is going to restore order. Bane’s Batman (Thomas Wayne) is out of sorts at the return of his son and must make some hard choices over what orders he needs to carry out. While Bane isn’t seen in this issue his presence is felt on almost every panel as the two Wayne’s work their way through Gotham for what will no doubt be an unavoidable confrontation. Seeing Batman and Catwoman back together makes me realize how special their relationship is and I feel like it is in great hands with Tom King at the helm of this book and I cannot wait to see what the Batman & Catwoman book will bring.
I know many readers have dropped off of Tom King’s Batman but loyal readers are being rewarded with this final arc. City of Bane has lived up to all of my expectations. It’s been both an interesting study of multiple characters while also being full of action and intrigue. While the past two issue have been focused on Bruce and Selina rehabbing on a tropical island with a brilliant tip of a Detroit Tiger’s hat to Magnum PI it’s nice to be back in Gotham and pushing this storyline to a conclusion. Joining King on this issue is the legendary duo of John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson. While I am not the biggest of Romita fans I do love his work on Batman and it looks great here. With the dark and gritty colors of Tomeu Morey Romita and Janson’s work fits with this issue. Watching Batman and Catwoman work their way through Gotham’s new police force was a fun time and I cannot wait to see what the next issue brings after the way this issue ends.
Verdict: Buy! Tom King’s Batman has been an excellent tale and with everything building to a cataclysmic end in a few issues Batman #80 was a perfect warm up for what’s to come.