There’s a reason Batman is one of the top selling comic books — Tom King and company had some big shoes to fill coming on to the book (namely, those of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo), but so far they’ve proven they were the right choice. Following the delightful two-issue story about Catwoman, Batman #16 gets back to the narrative that’s been progressing all series long with a new story arc — “I Am Bane”.
Bane is coming to Gotham to get Psycho Pirate out of Arkham Asylum and Batman has to clear the deck in order to prepare. He collects his adopted sons from the hilarious Bat Burger restaurant and tells them to leave the city. Bruce needs five days to utilize Pirate’s mask in order to undo the damage done to Gotham Girl and then he can destroy it. Of course, being a handful of Robins, they disobey Batman’s orders and things get messy.
There are so many spinning gears in the mechanics of this narrative, and every one of them was created by King throughout this run. It’s so impressive how he’s juggled all these moving parts and orchestrated Batman’s current predicament. When King’s tenure on the title is over, he should release a book about it called “I Am King”.
Batman #16 really is a perfect Batman comic, there’s a little bit of everything. King not only has a firm grasp on writing the Bat, but every supporting character oozes personality without needing many pages to do it. This issue showcases King’s love for all the things that make up Batman’s world, and he writes the best Alfred since The Animated Series. It’s also very much his own, not just a carbon copy of what Snyder established previously. The Bat Burger restaurant in particular is a welcomed addition to Batman canon and is utilized so perfectly as the environment in where King sets up the game and its players for this new arc.
David Finch is a really awesome guy, as I learned while having the the pleasure of meeting him recently at the New Jersey Comic Expo. Every artist featured in this run so far has been fantastic, but it’s great to see Finch back on Batman. Having been the first artist on this run, his return completes the atmosphere that everything coming full circle. Finch, along with Jordie Bellaire, keep fidgety readers invested in a comic that’s mostly dialogue and not much action.
“I Am Bane” promises to be an unforgettable Bat-Family story without feeling too much like Detective Comics. Tom King has introduced and accomplished so much already in just 16 issues. DC has struck gold with King, like Snyder before him, and they better not let go. Batman #16 is a perfect comic book — and I don’t hand out perfect scores very often but on my personal scale, you really couldn’t ask for anything more.
(P.S. “I Am King” by Tom King, the behind-the-scenes stories and creative process for a legendary Batman run. That wasn’t a joke Tom, you should totally do it.)