BATMAN #82 & #83

There once was a man called Wayne, who was morose and rather profane. But then, one night, to his, delight, he started speaking just like Michael Caine. Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Tom King, Mikel Janin, and published by DC Comics in December, 2019.

TO QUOTE Steven Wright: When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction’.

After all these many months of fighting, scheming, and hoping for the best, the time has finally come for Batman and Catwoman to take back Gotham City from Bane’s tyrannical rule.

But can they do this? Can the bat and the cat finally take down that low-down dirty rat? And if they can, what about Bane’s partner-in-crime, Thomas Wayne? (Originally from the Flashpoint Universe) As I’m sure he has a devilish plan tucked up his sleeve, a devilish plan connected to the death of Alfred Pennyworth! Well, to find out, please pick up issue 82 and 83 of Batman today. In the meantime, though, here, have a look at this...

Have you ever witnessed two snotty-nosed kids having a fist-fight in a playground? If not, don’t worry, because now you’ll get the chance to see such a fight, courtesy of these two issues of Batman. In many ways, both episodes were light on plot, heavy on action, and simple by design, with issue 82 mainly focused on a battle between Bruce, Bane, and Selina, while issue 83, dealt with Bruce's anger over Alfred's death. Apart from that, though, there’s nothing much more to say, except...

1) Was Bane’s fight with Bruce any good? Yes, yes it was, up to a point, but only because of the amazing artwork provided by Mikel Janin, and not because of the naive narrative provided by Tom King. Well, let’s face it, Mikel is a fantastic artist and he certainly knows how to compose clearly choreographed fight scenes that are bold, bloody, and brutal to behold. While Tom, on the other hand, is good at writing dialogue but bad at writing stories that acknowledge Batman’s previous mythology. Heck, I’ve been reading the Bat-Books for over 20 years now, and during that time, I’ve never read a story where Batman desperately needed Catwoman to fight by his side! Not until now, that is! Plus along similar lines, I don’t think I’ve ever read a Batman story where the whole issue relied on a series of lies! As it was a lie that allowed Catwoman to join the fight, it was a lie that gave Bruce the opportunity to poison Bane, and it was a lie that prompted Bane to remove his ‘Venom backpack thingy’! But, if you think about it, people, Bruce isn’t normally prone to telling lies and he couldn’t have known that Bane was going to fall for his trap, especially when you take into account that Bane is now supposed to be some sort of master manipulator who can second-guess whatever Batman is going to do next. But no, no he can’t, and neither can Bruce, either. So with some benefit of hindsight, even though I liked the visual look of this fight, I didn’t like the fight’s own internal logic

2) So what was Thomas doing while all of this was going on? Well, he basically had a nice long bath followed by a warm cup of tea and a plate of cucumber sandwiches. Ha! I’m only kidding, folks, although I wish I wasn’t. You see, while the bat, the cat, and the prat, kicked the living shat out of each other, Ka-Bam!Thomas Wayne got into his car and drove all the way to where they were fighting. Once there, he quickly jumped out and shot Bruce and Bane before either of them could react, Pow-Pow!, in order to slow them down and set them up. Mainly, Bruce, who gets locked away with Alfred’s dead body so he could impart one final piece of advice.

3) What? Say that again? Who’s giving who advice now? Essentially, Alfred is giving advice to Bruce. Or to be more specific about it, a recording of Alfred’s voice that gets played to Bruce throughout issue 83. Well, when this episode begins, we are presented with a scenario where Bruce is slumped down by the side of a table while Alfred’s voice wakes him up by telling him about their life together at Wayne Manor. But then, as soon as he's fully awake, Bruce quickly realizes where he is (trapped in the dining room), what he’s doing there (sitting in a chair), and who he’s currently with (Alfred’s dead body sitting in the chair directly opposite him). All of which causes him to snap, snap like a twig, before he carefully carries his dead friend’s body to a nearby sofa and then goes a bit nuts, Aaahhhgggg! Which makes sense, if you think about it, because I’m sure most of us would act a little crazy if we suddenly saw someone we cared about as dead as a politician's heart! What doesn’t make sense, however, is the fact that Alfred would calmly accept his impending demise by becoming a willing sacrifice, so to speak, and then try to subside Bruce’s loss by implying that he should live a ‘normal life’ without Batman in it. I mean, seriously? Are we truly expected to believe that Alfred would give up like this? Give up without any form of resistance! Also, why would he tell Bruce what he should do from this moment onwards? Keeping in mind that Alfred is fully aware that Bruce is a very stubborn individual who doesn’t ever give up. Even if he wanted to, as it isn’t in him to just walk away from a fight that caused the death of his oldest and closest friend! But then again, I don’t truly believe that Alfred is dead. Not totally dead, anyway, on account of another story published in the sixties where he died and was brought back to life as the Outsider (Detective Comics #356, cover-dated October, 1966). Not as in, ‘Batman and the Outsiders’, plural, but rather, the ‘Outsider’, singular, saying so because this current depiction of Alfred (along with the rest of the Bat-Family) didn’t feel quite right and I’m sure DC won’t kill him off for very long, Hint-Hint!

Anyway, all that aside, and on the whole, I would just like to say that these two issues were marvelous to look at, easy to follow, but was severely let down by two-dimensional storytelling and an annoying plot.

If you want to know why I’ve selected the Irish melody, ‘Danny Boy’, for this month’s musical match-up, then I suggest that you play the following song and check out the next section for further details. Top of the morning to you, Bajeezus!

Now I know this may sound somewhat strange, but in many ways, this adventure reminded me of a sober, Irish wake, but only because they both featured a lot of fighting and a lot of crying.

Comparison made.

At the end of issue 83, it's finally revealed why Thomas Wayne has decided to mentally torture his son Bruce. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess his reasons? I mean, could it be because…

  • He wants him to stop being miserable.
  • He wants him to stop wearing rubber.
  • He wants him to stop listening to show tunes.
  • He wants him to stop being Batman.
  • He wants him to stop hanging out with aliens and children.
  • He wants him to stop being transsexual.
  • He wants him to stop saying, 'GGrrrrrggghhhh'.
  • He wants him to stop sitting in his basement and playing with his gadgets.

Nuff said.

BATMAN #82 & #83 BATMAN #82 & #83 Reviewed by David Andrews on December 04, 2019 Rating: 5

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