“I want to break your damn back.”
“I Am Suicide” comes to a close in Batman #13, and it has been an interesting arc. It did a good job of keeping me guessing throughout the story, and it has a great bait and switch with the last issue and this one. I really liked what they did with Catwoman and Batman’s relationship in this arc, and it comes full circle in this issue. The small scene where they kiss after everything was done was great. They have always had a really deep relationship, and though they are on opposite sides of the law, they are more alike than they are different. Tom King recognized that, and really explored it throughout this storyline. I loved the personal letters between The Bat and The Cat in previous issues, and it was really cool to see both of their flaws and how much they opened up to each other. It looks like the next arc will go deeper into their relationship, and I am really excited to see where King takes us, as he has shown, especially in this arc on the meaning of “I Am Suicide”, that he will make provocative choices with the characters.
The way this issue ties things together is well done. We get to see Bronze Tiger, Punch and Jewlee, The Ventriloquist, and especially Catwoman play major roles in what we realize is now Batman’s master plan to take Bane down. As Bane is pummeling bats, he is telling him how after he got off the venom, he realized he was a weak man, much like him. He tells Batman he will be the monster he seeks, because like the “I Am Suicide” title plays with, according to Bane, Batman is seeking death in another’s arms. He goes as far as to say they are both too weak to put the gun to their own head and end their lives. It is an interesting idea, and a very controversial one, but I like how King has Bane say this, and not Batman himself. Bruce however, did say that he tried to take his own life after his parents died in the last issue, and that he died himself that day, but I took that as more of Bruce Wayne spiritually died when Batman was born. Either way it is an interesting premise to show us that Batman is human, and has flaws.
Mikel Janín is a fantastic artist, and I have loved his work on this series. He does a great job in this issue of balancing the panels between the set up and our characters pulling everything off. The way Janín draws The Ventriloquist is creepy and perfect. I feel like he is looking at me with his little beady eyes behind those glasses. He also does an excellent job with facial expressions. The look on Psycho Pirate’s face as he attempts to control The Ventriloquist is a fantastic moment. I shouldn’t mention the art without mentioning how well he draws Batman and Catwoman, and I have said that before, but I will say it again. I love his version of Batman. It feels new, but still very classic. He is brooding, angry, and hard to read like the Batman we know, but he is also vulnerable, and at times can show emotion. Catwoman is very similar, and has an old school charm to her that I really like. I feel like I am seeing a little Michelle Pfeiffer and a little Julie Newmar in her, but that may just be what I see. The colors are also well done, as June Chung has been very consistent throughout.
I do see that this run so far has been a little polarizing, but I really have enjoyed it so far. Tom King has done a great job on giving us something different for Batman, and that is what I want. Sure, I want familiar things and tone to this book, but I also want a new take on the character, and that is exactly what we are getting. A lot of this issue, and this story overall had some over the top moments, but that is what makes it fun for me. We see him take on hundreds of guards and survive, we see him seemingly have his back broken and snap it back into place, and we see Punch and Jewlee blow bubbles into a raft they all escape on. I think that is what Tom King is doing best on this series, marrying the ridiculousness of a being a superhero, with the flaws of being a human being.
Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janín Color: June Chung
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review