Hello there, dear readers! It has been some time since I’ve had the chance to talk about one of my favorite things. Yes, it is Batman. Although this time I would like to go over one specific and very important writer in today’s comics, Tom King. I admit, after a few specific incidents in his publications, he’s left a bad taste in my mouth. I also admit that some of these are sole because I’m a bit of an overzealous fan. However, one thing I can say is objective fact is that King and his work with Batman is going to fundamentally change the landscape in the realm of comics and their writing.
For those who are wondering what we are about to get into and haven’t read Batman #77 that was released today, go read the book and come back. You’ll thank me later.
For some reference into the buildup to what I’m about to talk about, let us look back to Batman #55. To summarize, Dick has been making a point to be near Bruce in support of him in the wake of infamous issue #50. Bruce, making serious efforts to push him away to no avail is finally starting to lighten up. Just when things start to feel good again for Batman, KGBeast snipes Dick in the brain.
Now, this didn’t kill the boy wonder. No, there were other plans for him. That’s a discussion for later, the point I’m making is that King had taken a shot at one of the frontline Batfamily characters. With that, you’d think King would let up just a wee bit. You’d be wrong. In the same month, DC releases its first issue of Heroes In Crisis. King’s big event where he expands on the mental health of superheroes. In issue #1 King kills off Blue Jay, Hot Spot, Red Devil, Gunfire, Commander Steel, Roy Harper, and Wally West. More deaths come in the same series. It’s just the idea that so many different characters, some of which had their solo titles, others locked in the vault ended so abruptly.
King is no stranger to controversial plot choices. In his Vision publication, the strife he put him through on a domestic level was almost contagious. We were just as sad as Vision was, it was a walk in his shoes. With Nightwing be shot, we felt like Bruce did for a moment. I, personally, sat there in silence for about 10 minutes before things hit me. With HIC I felt for the whole future of DC. With Batman #77 I fear for the future of Gotham and landscape of DC as a whole.
One has to admit the level of impact King has on the realm of DC is significant. Love him or hate him, this is what we have to look forward. With all the deaths going around I found myself very, VERY, upset. Then, had a moment of clarity.
FINAL SPOILER WARNING
In Batman #77, due to the careless cavalier of one Damian Wayne, Bane snaps Alfred’s neck as a consequence. I was in actual tears folks. Real tears. As anyone who has consumed Batman for as long as I have. I’m sure this was a crushing blow to a lot of people, and I feel for that. It may seem like I’m here to lament my tormented soul about this and originally that was the idea. However, I feel as if I’ve come full circle. I didn’t think the toll would be worse since HIC, wrong there, but now I’ve reached a bewildering understanding of what exactly King is doing, perhaps I’m wrong.
This entire thing feels like King is wiping the slate clean, while simultaneously paving the path for new ambitious works to grow within the DC canon. The killing of Alfred is tragic but think about the ripple effect we will inevitably see. This is unprecedented, and the very act of doing so is a message to the fans and the writers of DC. “We will not be contained.” King is lighting the beacons for other writers to begin to make big changes in the main comic world. Think about it, it’s unheard of (unless you’re Geoff Johns) to flat murder and cancel/reboot so many different characters. We’ve already seen such with Rick Grayson. Dick’s new self after recovering from a severe brain injury. The biggest example I can come up with. He’s finally monogamous (so far). He went from shattering the hearts of the women closest to him. To be a dedicated man to his lady while still fighting crime on the side.
At this point, you may be cursing my bloodline for this heresy. I just hope that one can see that all this loss doesn’t have to be so bleak. We can finally see some writers perhaps stretch their legs out and find a stride without so many walls of red tape. I’m upset at the loss, but the idea of more compelling books is far more important than the tired and antiquated status quo a lot of characters seem to be stuck in. The canon needs more ebbs and flows throughout to get back to what it once was. For once, things are gonna change with a story and not with reboots. I’ll pay whatever price for that.