You don’t know a damn thing! (Batman #71 Comic Review)

Batman #71

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

This continues from the last issue which wrapped up the Knightmares arc and started the next one. Batman has escaped from Arkham Asylum after being induced into a nightmare coma from Scarecrow’s fear toxins. After breaking out he promised to return once he got everything together.

Story
This story has two sides to it. One has Bane and his father (Flashpoint Batman) come into Wayne Manor and confront Batman head-on. The other story has Batgirl gathering a team to help Batman. The Bat Signal was recently turned red, which is what tipped Batgirl off to go get help. The comic jumps back and forth between the stories and plays with parallels between the two stories. It is in this book the reader gets the sense of who exactly is still on Batman’s side as the team formed is now a fraction of what the Bat Family used to be. The broken nature of the story does lend itself to the overall themes in the book, and this arc in particular, so far.

Tim’s Thoughts
Tom King creates a confusing story here. However, that is not a complaint. This story is meant to be confusing and slightly obtuse. Without getting into spoiler territory, things seem to not be going the way they should for our title character. The time jumps between the stories come together in an interesting way (and have a slight call back that many readers will recognize instantly). Batgirl forming the team of allies is another great moment. In one quick page, Tom King masterfully explains the current status quo of the Bat family. While it may be upsetting to see “Ric” Grayson refuse to help, it is another reminder of the constant changes and shifts in comic book continuity. It time stamps the issue but doesn’t date it (if that makes sense). Absolutely not a single page in this book is wasted. The storytelling here had me excited from beginning to end. Tom King is known for his snappy writing and quick pacing, with arcs that have great foresight and payoffs. Seeing what he has set up in just two issues already, I cannot wait to see how this plays out. There are questions in this issue that are begging to be answered.

 

Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes are both amazing artists and I love their work. But, If you follow my reviews you know I am not a fan of switching art teams. In fact, I heavily criticized the same team here for creating an incoherent and jarring issue. However, the juggling teams works perfectly here. Since this issue jumps between two stories having a different team on each story made the issue more readable. This is a confusing issue in all the right ways. But if the art looked the same throughout it would have been a mess and harder to follow. Giving the reader visual cues on the time jumps really helped this comic. It also allowed the teams to play off their similarities and differences in some really beautiful parallel moments. If you have multiple teams on a book there needs to be a thematic reason for that, and this issue could only work with multiple pencilers.

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Summary
Somehow Tom King moves from one amazing arc to the next. I really didn’t think I could enjoy his work more than I did in Knightmares, but he continues to build. This run on Batman deserves all the awards and acclaim it is getting, and I believe Tom King will go down as one of the great Batman writers. Now that we are in the latter half of his run things are building toward something I cannot wait to see more of.
Good
  • Multiple art teams working together thematically
  • Tom King is setting up a great mystery here
  • Seeing the Bat Family (even when broken)
  • An amazing final page
10
Perfect

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