Almost all of the best Batman stories are about his relationship with the crimefighting family he’s assembled over decades. Think about it: so many of the great Silver and Bronze Age stories are about love interests. “Tower of Babel” is about how he and the League manage their relationships. The Dark Knight Returns is as much about reassembling a family as it is about Bruce being An Old. Morrison’s whole run was explicitly about the power of friendship in the Batman mythos. This is by no means an exclusive or exhaustive list of the greatest Batman stories ever told, but I do think there’s something to the idea that Batman’s relationships and his waxing and waning ability to trust others is a core component of much of what makes Batman comics great.
This is why Tom King’s run has been so successful to this point, and why I think Batman #80, while nowhere near as *ahem* twisty as recent issues, is set up to be one of the best in the entire story. We started the run with him trying to add Gotham Girl to his team without actually bringing her into the family, trying to force her to accept his help by kidnapping the Psycho Pirate to manipulate her into healing.
Then we dealt with him trying to accept Catwoman in his life as an equal, as a partner, before she was pulled away from him right as he was allowing himself to be vulnerable and open, and he swung back away from the idea of trust as a result. And when he closed all of the doors and windows into himself, his whole life fell apart – his son (sort of) was almost killed and dramatically retconned, and his city was stolen from him. Batman doesn’t start recovering from that until he opens up again to Catwoman, who’s helping him recover overseas.
In this issue, which we have an exclusive first look of for you, Batman has to make a choice to trust or not trust someone on something critically important, and it’s a really nice way of setting up the climax that the previous 79 issues have been building to using the central metaphor of the story.
John Romita, Jr. is the perfect artist to draw this story. Not just because, in this Reverse Knightfall of a story, we’re at the part of the tale where Batman has to fight everybody. Romita’s been a remarkably consistent artist for almost my entire life. Go back to his earliest X-Men work, and you see the same faces and body types there that you see in Daredevil: Man Without Fear, his second go on Amazing Spider-Man, and New 52 Superman.
In addition to the faces being similar, there’s a weight to his figures that not many people can accomplish in comics. His Batman looks like he can really move, like he’s definitely faster and more agile than the people he’s fighting, but he is also a pile of bricks. He gets shot in the chest in this preview, and honestly, if you told me it was his pecs that stopped the bullets, I’d believe it.
Here’s what DC has to say about the issue:
written by TOM KINGart and cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. and KLAUS JANSONcard stock variant cover by FRANCESCO MATTINA
The bad guys thought they had it made with Bane in control, but with Batman back in Gotham they’ll be reminded what justice feels like…and how it hurts when it hits you in the face. With Catwoman at his side, the Caped Crusader is looking to take down Bane’s army and reclaim his city. But what happens when old allies like Gotham Girl also stand in his way? The legendary art team of John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson join Batman for two action-packed issues that will rock Gotham City to its foundation.
ON SALE 10.02.19
Check out the preview pages below: