Batman #75 review

The lunatics have taken over the asylum. That’s a story we’ve seen many times in Batman comics. This time, though, said asylum isn’t Arkham, it’s Gotham City itself.

Bad cops are the norm – very bad cops. And the police commissioner doesn’t exactly inspire trust.

And the Batman?

He’s Thomas Wayne, parallel world pop of this earth’s Bruce Wayne.

And he has a sidekick.

As for Bruce Wayne, he’s climbing a mountain.

Yeah, again. How many times must Batman seek out one of his old mentors? This part of Tom King’s extra-sized City of Bane opener was the least interesting to me. Bad enough it’s the mystic teacher bit again, but we get an extended anecdote meant to resonate with the main action – it’s a bit of a King cliche and a tad tedious.

Much better is his dialogue, and the way he dips into Batman’s back catalogue of baddies. Here, as well as the inevitable Joker, Riddler and Two-Face, we get the likes of Dr Double X, Mr Zsazs, the Ventriloquist, Firebug, Killer Moth, Killer Croc… Heck, even the nobody that is Magpie gets a mention. And the way they interact is a delight, if a dark one.

I jumped off Batman awhile back, somewhat bored by the ongoing business with Bane, one of the most overrated of Bat bad guys. Well, he’s still around, but more a background figure than the main event. The meat of Batman #75 – I can’t resist an anniversary issue, even if there isn’t a zero at the end – is concerned with showing us how Gotham City works as reimagined by Bane and buddies, and that I enjoy. I also like the Gotham Girl appearance, even if she really should have shuffled off this mortal comic a long time ago. And I love Alfred’s resistance in the face of the infernal Thomas Wayne.

The art is spiffy throughout. Tony S Daniel just gets better and better, his storytelling for the bulk of the book on point, his characters compelling and finishes stylish. And Tomeu Moreu’s colours paint Gotham as darkly attractive. The one off moment, though, is a big one – the reveal of Thomas Wayne as the city’s ‘true’ Batman…

… does that not scream ‘Frank N Furter’?

As for Mitch Gerads, he does a great job, working in full colour, with the final few pages, a tacked-on tie-in to the current DC Year of the Villain nonsense… I expect this will be filleted from the City of Bane collection and gently placed into a collection devoted to King and Gerads.

Clayton Cowles does a fine job making the script look good, and his emphases are always spot on. Extra points if he designed the terrific Bane logo – it’s far better than the druggie lucha-bore deserves.

As a one-off, I enjoyed this anniversary issue. I won’t, though, be back next time – Bane is a terribly annoying character, as tedious in his ‘can out-plan Batman’ as Batman is when he’s in ‘can out-plan everyone (except Bane) ((until he does))’ mode. He’s out to make Gotham a No Man’s Land again, and that was bad enough the first time out.

6 thoughts on “Batman #75 review

  1. My only experience with Bane is from Gail Simone’s “Secret Six” and I enjoyed him in that series. But I suspect he was maybe portrayed in a slightly off-brand manner in that comic. I missed out on all the Knightfall-breaking-of-the-Bat stories (but weren’t those Kelley Jones covers pretty sweet??), so I can’t really comment on his character beyond that.
    I am kinda surprised that he’s able to get the Joker to fall to heel. That seems like a rather large suspension of disbelief for me. Are we supposed to believe that there’s some Psycho Pirate shenanigans going on that would compel the Joker to follow Bane? Even then… I kinda feel like Joker is beyond things like the Medusa Mask.
    Poor Gotham Girl. That kid has really been put through the wringer by King, hasn’t she? I mean, he created her, so… have at it, I guess. I’d much prefer he tortures his own creations than characters like Wally West and Mister Miracle.
    You are right on the money about King’s tendency to use tedious anecdotes (and poetry!! Enough with the poetry, please!!) to give his stories gravitas.

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  2. I thought the same thing with the Joker, heck Riddler too, and probably any number of the villains – they’re not the type to fall in with the agendas of others. I don’t know why Bane is such a favourite with writers. And yes, Gail Simone tweaked him, made him interesting. I think of that Bane and this one as separate characters… which we shouldn’t be forced to do.

    I sort of feel for Gotham Girl and I don’t – I realise she has the sad backstory, but can’t recall ever seeing her when she’s not a little… touched. She doesn’t feel like a real character.

    I do like Kelly Jones Batman, those ears, that cape!

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  3. I don’t get this whole Thomas Wayne thing. I must have missed the issue where he was brought to the main Earth from wherever he was. And, I have to admit, I really like this Gotham Girl.

    I agree with you 100% about Bane. I hate him. I tend to zone out when he is involved, so this storyline is something I have only been skimming. I think King is a good writer, certainly has a knack for interesting dialog, but his desire to turn everything into a therapy session is getting really old.

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  4. I was all in for this book a while ago, but the last 6 months have really worn me down. I’m hoping that once Bruce gets back in the thick of things, it’ll get back on track. And that we’ll get less poetry & fable narration to the action. It’s almost like Bane’s plan is to break the Bat with overdue library fines!

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  5. I’m not sure about why Thomas Wayne is around either, the last I saw of him was Flashpoint; I do wish Marvel and DC wouldn’t bring characters from ‘event worlds’ into the main continuity a la TW and Dark Beast and that blond Wolverine kid.

    I’m not counting Lois and Clark, they were from real continuity! Honest.

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