You can pickup your copy of Batman #82 now where all good comics are sold.
“City of Bane” part eight! Batman and his allies wage war on the City of Bane, but an unexpected turn of events will send everyone reeling. Will there be another death in the family, or can the Dark Knight break Bane’s iron grip over Gotham City?
At this juncture, following an incredibly 82 issues, plus annuals, I think we can call this the longest long game in DC Comics history.
Writer Tom King has now crafted one of the most complex stories in the history of The Dark Knight and is playing it out entirely as he sees fit and I cannot applaud him enough for it. As frustrated as I am with certain dangling-Pennyworth plot threads, I have to commend King for sticking to his guns and allowing the story to breathe fully.
Batman #82 follows up on the promise of the previous issue – not annual #4 – and finally pits Batman against Bane as the two come face-to-face.
Undoubtedly this is only the beginning-of-the-end as the events of #82 make it clear there’s more to come, at least from Thomas Wayne. But for the Bat and Bane it feels like things have finally come to a head.
The fight itself is littered with King’s zippy dialogue. A great diatribe from Bane is often cut-off by the wonderful interplay between Bruce and Selina. They’re maintaining a very playful dialogue throughout despite the brawl unfolding around them and it takes on an odd, gritty Mr & Mrs Smith vibe.
Seeing the two of them work as a team to take down Bane will undoubtedly satisfy Bat-Cat shippers. It doesn’t feel like King is trying to make up for anyone’s disappointment with the wedding issue. Their relationship feels entirely organic to the story and I never sensed corporate meddling as a way of apologising to outraged fans.
The fight itself feels very guttural and brutal, in no small part due to the excellent artwork of Tony Daniels and Mikel Janin. Their artwork was the right choice for this issue, rendering both Bruce and Bane as hulking, muscular gods. Obviously Bane has the advantage but as the two strip off their costumes and gadgets it feels like much more of an even playing field.
Throughout the battle King, through dialogue, call back to plot points from across his run. There’s mentions of Gotham Girl and her venom as well as more discussion about Batman’s plan and Bane’s stupidity in falling for this current trap. It drives home the point that King is in complete control of the narrative and that despite the huge wealth of material he is still manipulating plenty of plot threads.
The sub-plot featuring Thomas Wayne appears to be creeping back to the fore. Little time has passed following his fight with the Bat-family as they all lie unconscious on the Batcave floor.
It seems he is on a path to clash with Bruce and that culminates in another “life hangs in the balance” cliffhanger ending for this issue.
So rather than ending this book with a continued sense of frustration, mixed with extreme enjoyment, I’m now hugely anticipating what comes next. Rather than hoping for the conclusion to come I’m not nervously excited because it feels inevitable that King has to deal with the remaining plot threads which are left hanging.
Finally the pieces are beginning to fit together and with the bigger picture coming in to focus I understand exactly why we’ve been made to wait this long.
King brilliantly begins to bring the story of his Batman arc full circle as the Bat finally confronts Bane. The story balances intense action with a tense sub-plot and is capped off with the captivating visual style of Tony Daniel and Mikel Janin.
Batman #82 is written by Tom King with pencils by Tony S. Daniel and Mikel Janin who also acts as inker. Colours are by Jordie Bellaire and the cover comes from David Finch and Alex Sinclair.