BATMAN #76 & #77

There once was a very corrupt city, that housed gangsters and crooks who were both shitty. But then, one night, they got, a right fright, when a hero showed them all his left titty! Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Tom King, Tony Daniel, Mikel Janin, and published by DC Comics in August, 2019.

TO QUOTE Woody Allen:I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens’. 

Warning: No one living in Gotham City is safe from Bane’s wrath. No hero, no villain, and definitely no super-powered being, because if anyone would dare defy his almighty rule, Batman and Gotham Girl will crush them to bits.

No. I’m not talking about the real Batman: a.k.a. Bruce Wayne. But rather, his parental replacement, Thomas Wayne from the Flashpoint Universe, who has taken it upon himself to aid Bane with his slightly psychotic sidekick! So far, the two of them have managed to repel Captain Atom, The Scarecrow, Kite Man, and both Tweedledum and Tweedledee! But up next, is Damian, Damian Wayne, who plans to take back the city, regardless of the cost. Want to know more? Then please pick up issue 76 and 77 of Batman today. In the meantime though, here, check this out… 

In many ways, reading these two episodes of Batman was as entertaining as seeing a monkey fall down a flight of stairs: On the surface, everything looked fairly fun and enjoyable to watch, but underneath it all, it was also cruel, sadistic, and damn right mean. Well, let’s face it; nobody likes to see people getting hurt, especially if that person hasn’t done anyone any real harm. But then again, this is a work of fiction, and as such, requires someone to review it accordingly. So, without any further ado, please have a look at the following four points...

1) Ouch: For as long as I can remember there has always been a certain level of violence featured in the comic books. Sometimes it can be used to establish a character's personality or a specific plot-point. Whereas, at other times, it can be used to showcase a lavish spectacle or a grand finale! Either way, violence happens, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always appropriate or justified. Case in point, in issue 76 of Batman, Captain Atom gets beaten up badly by Gotham Girl, despite the fact that she hasn’t had any real training in the use of her abilities, while he’s had a lot of training, both in the military and in the Justice League. Now, emotionally speaking, this didn’t feel quite right -- not totally, anyway -- because there is no logical reason as to why he was overpowered by someone that hasn’t earned her status or her level of power. In fact, it was given to her and hasn’t yet been fully defined! So in all fairness, it’s difficult to say if the outcome of their fight felt true or false. Similarly, I wasn’t too keen on Thomas Wayne’s one-sided fight against The Scarecrow, Kite Man, and Dum and Dee either.  Although, in this instance, my disdain has nothing to do with the outcome, but rather, its relevance within the bigger picture!

2) Snap: In stark contrast to what I thought about the aforementioned fights, the two fights that featured Damian were far more enjoyable to watch. Not only because they were nicely paced and looked really-really good (nice one, Mikel), but in addition to this, they also made some sense within the confines of a comic book narrative (Abracadabra). Well, unlike Captain Atom before him, Damian made sure that he was prepared to take on Gotham Girl with the use of arcane rituals and ancient magic. Plus along similar lines, his fight with Thomas also made sense because he allowed his own arrogance to get the better of him and didn’t fully understand who he was facing. That said, however, something happened after Damian’s fight that I didn’t like at all. Something that happened to Alfred, Bruce's Butler, which was so shocking, so disrespectful, and so horrible to watch, that I don’t honestly believe it to be true. After all, he’s a well-respected character and deserves his iconic status within the DCU. But more importantly than that, Alfred is also genuinely loved by the fans and I don’t think any of them would agree with his treatment! So come on, one and all, protest, shout out, and fight back for Al!! 

3) Talk: Peppered throughout both of these episodes were two conversations between two different sets of characters. One conversation focused on Bruce and Selina’s usual cat and bat, tit-for-tat, while the other conversation focused on Tim and Damian’s thoughts about Bane’s control over Gotham City. Now, out of the two, I’d say that I preferred reading Tim’s discussion with Damian because it showed the differences between the two characters: What with Tim being the sensible son and Damian being the pain in the arse son.  Whereas Bruce’s discussion with Selina, on the other hand, was lighter in tone and basically set up whatever is going to happen next. Not that this was a bad thing, mind you!  If anything, it was a good thing, because, in either scenario, each discussion was charming and enjoyable to read. 

4) Draw: Did you know that Tony Daniel has drawn over 5000 issues of Batman? Well, maybe not that many, but he’s certainly drawn a lot over the years and I’ve genuinely enjoyed seeing how his style has slowly evolved with the times. Back in the day, most of his work came across as if it were a diluted version of Jim Aparo or Neal Adams’s artwork, albeit slightly more pointed and modern in comparison.  Then as time ticked on, Tony’s style gradually changed (both in tone and composition) so you could easily see other influences impinging upon his wares, ranging from George Pérez, Jim Lee, as well as Adam Kubert. But now, after all this time, I like to think that Tony’s work is Tony's work, nobody else’s, because it’s nicely detailed, easy to follow, and very vibrant on the eye. Similarly, Mikel Janin is also a great, great artist, and his work on issue 77 should likewise be praised. Heck, just take a look at some of the pictures provided and see for yourself how they’ve both mastered the art of the splash-page (Catwoman) and the dramatic confrontation (Zap!!!), doing so by filling each panel with a double-dose of the three C’s: Charm, Character, and Charisma.

For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to align this adventure with the Public Enemy rap classic, ‘Fight the Power’, simply because that’s what Batman and the rest of his family have to do next.

If you want to know why I’m comparing issue 77 to a neck brace, then I suggest that you pick up this book for further details. Many thanks. Amen.

At the end of issue 77, Bane does something very, very nasty to Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess what he does to him? I mean, does he… 

  • Slap him in the mouth.
  • Kick him in the balls.
  • Punch him in the elbow.
  • Kiss him on the lips.
  • Hug him around the waist.
  • Massage his inner thigh.
  • Break his neck.
  • Strip him naked.

Nuff said.  

BATMAN #76 & #77 BATMAN #76 & #77 Reviewed by David Andrews on August 28, 2019 Rating: 5

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