By: Mark Henely
On paper, this comic book shouldn’t be very good. The entire story takes place during the course of a fist fight between Batman and Bane and is about 70% recap. However, it ends up being deeper than that. Batman #20 doesn’t just recap the action of Tom King’s impressive run on the Dark Knight’s solo book, it deepens the experience. It adds texture to it. It reframes it in a way that shows how every moment of this run has been driven by a singular desire that Batman harbors.
This is a comic book about being needed. The narrator mistakenly believes that Batman is looking for a way out, but if that was the case, then he would just let accept that Bane was going to kill him. Batman sacrifices of himself because people need him to do it. As long as someone needs him, he will be there to give of himself.
The ending of this comic is great because it references a classic Batman theme and tries to resolve it. The idea that Batman is looking for “a good death” has been around for a long time and I was excited to see the character potentially ready to move past that. But, I finished the comic with a distinct feeling of uncertainty. If Bruce knows that he doesn’t have to die with his cowl on, where does he go from here? It is certainly a less destructive path, but it’s an uncertain one. It’ll be interesting to see how Tom King follows up on this.
9.2 out of 10