Bruce Wayne has gone a new journey of rediscovering who he is as Batman. Though his overall goal is the same Bruce has been clearly rocked by being left at the altar by Selina Kyle. That has become clear with Bruce going back to his Hush-era Batman costume. With that change made there are a lot of questions as to where exactly Tom King plans to take Batman after all the recent events. Luckily for Bruce he will have Nightwing around to help him figure out where he wants to go. Let’s see how the original Dynamic Duo does back together in Batman #55.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Tony S. Daniel
Inker: Tony S. Daniel and Danny Miki
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At the Gotham City Airport Anatoli Knyazev (KGBeast) gets through customs by saying he is visiting the USA for a fundraiser.
Elsewhere Batman and Nightwing are on patrol.
At a Gotham City hotel KGBeast gets a room and watches some TV while waiting for something.
Back on the streets of Gotham City, Batman and Nightwing battle some mummies. As they easily take out all the mummies Nightwing makes his usual banter even though Batman tries not to answer his partner.
At Tommy’s Guns store KGBeast purchases a specific gun and pays extra to get the special expedited price.
Elsewhere Batman and Nightwing easily take down the leader of the mummies, Phantom Pharaoh, attacking the city.
At a local diner KGBeast eats while writing a note that he leaves behind after finishing his food.
Back on patrol, Nightwing talks about how Batman used to call him “chum” which Batman denies doing.
Elsewhere KGBeast talks his way into an apartment complex and reaches a specific room.
On a rooftop Nightwing challenges Batman to a contest, which Batman has no interest in. Nightwing says while there is no winner this contest will be good training for them, even though he will win.
Inside a apartment KGBeast kills the resident living there.
Elsewhere, as Batman and Nightwing continue to patrol the city they notice the Bat-signal being turned on.
Back at the unknown apartment KGBeast calmly sets up his special sniper rifle even though there is a lot of noise from the complex’s residents outside.
On the roof of the GCPD Batman and Nightwing meet up with Commissioner Gordon. Commissioner Gordon tells the Dynamic Duo that customers found a napkin at a diner with “Who’s afraid of the Joker?” written on it. Batman mentions that it is the anniversary of the War of Jokes and Riddles. Commissioner Gordon mentions that they already checked and confirmed that Joker and Riddler are locked up in Arkham.
As they question Commissioner Gordon on the witnesses Nightwing is suddenly shot in the head. Commissioner Gordon and Batman rush to Nightwing’s side and call for a medical team.
Back at the apartment KGBeast puts his sniper rifle away and walks out of the room, leaving the resident’s dead body behind. End of issue.
The Good: As each page of Batman #55 goes by Tom King and Tony Daniel did a superb job at building tension for what will happen by the end of this issue. Even with how much fun is being had with seeing Batman and Nightwing fall back into their Dynamic Duo routine there is always a sense that something is about to happen. That feeling that permeated throughout Batman #55 made the ending even more effective as it builds several storylines for the Batman franchise.
Showing Batman and Nightwing in action throughout this issue was a fantastic move by King. This reunion of the original Dynamic Duo is a organic progression of the previous issue that established Dick Grayson is back to being a part-time Gotham City resident to help Bruce Wayne recover from recent events. Through all of the scenes with them on patrol King showed how well he understands the chemistry between Batman and Nightwing. Even as they both have gotten older and more experienced Batman and Nightwing can’t help get back into how they interacted when they were the Dynamic Duo.
It was a very different look into Batman especially since we haven’t seen him and Nightwing on patrol together in a while. This reunion showed how Nightwing is someone that brings out a different side of him compared to other partners and allies. Even if he does not mean to Batman can’t help but fall into Nightwing’s banter trap. King nails how the back-and-forth between Batman and Nightwing is unique. Even when Bruce is just saying “no” he never tells Dick to shut up. In his own way Batman knew he needed this night as having Nightwing around was helping him recover from recent events.
This night on patrol between Batman and Nightwing made a strong compliment for how we saw KGBeast calmly execute his plan. The constant switch between the Dynamic Duo on patrol and what KGBeast was planning made Batman #55 a tense issue. Because just as we were having fun seeing Batman and Nightwing’s back-and-forth we were reminded that KGBeast is somewhere in Gotham City getting ready to strike. That development created an uneasy feeling underneath the fun of Batman and Nightwing’s adventure.
The way each scene that featured KGBeast setting everything in place was shown to made him look like the most dangerous man in Gotham City. King bringing the War of Joke and Riddles back into play added an extra layer to KGBeast’s planning. This showed how truly dangerous KGBeast can be as he uses every little piece of information, in this case the anniversary of the War of Jokes and Riddles, to set-up Batman. KGBeast knew that given the date Batman would not be thinking about him being responsible for the mystery Commissioner Gordon presents to the Dynamic Duo.
This effectively created a scenario where Batman, Nightwing and Commissioner Gordon all had their guards dropped. That scenario was furthered by how King used the usually safe location of the GCPD rooftop as the location where KGBeast executed his planning. It all worked to payoff on everything that KGBeast was calmly doing, even with all the noise around him that could’ve distracted him. The calm KGBeast showed elevated how dangerous he now is and how it won’t be easy for Batman to take revenge on the villain.
What will be interesting to see play out is if KGBeast shooting Nightwing was all part of Bane’s plan to continue to break Batman. The entire way KGBeast was acting made it clear he was hired to do this. Even the way he planned seemed unique to this job, as KGBeast purposely left a dead body behind the apartment complex he was using. How this all plays into the larger plot that King is developing will be very interesting to see.
Nightwing being shot in the head also opens up a lot of different directions for various stories going on. In the last few months we have seen DC Comics emphasize how Nightwing is the most connected superhero in the DCU. Now with this event taking place not only does it put into question what will happen to Nightwing but also his larger role with the Titans and Justice League. These question along with others create a big opportunity for intriguing stories to be told, while leaving the fans in the dark with the direction Nightwing will go on with each passing month.
Along with what this will mean for Nightwing it’ll be interesting to see how Batman deals with another dark event in his life. With how Batman has yet to recover emotionally from what happened with Catwoman this is the last thing that he needed to happen. Since King showed how Nightwing was the one person to actually get through to Batman there are now questions how he will deal with such a massive blow that is close to home.
It was great to see Tony Daniel drawing a Batman book again. Daniel is at home in Gotham City as he does a great job throughout Batman #55 showing how dark and shady the city is. The way he draws Batman and Nightwing in action does a nice job balancing looking cinematic while complementing King’s dialogue. The slight smirk that Batman showed to have in one of the spread pages got over how Bruce was actually enjoying teaming up with Nightwing. Daniel’s strong artwork made the final moment with Nightwing getting shot and KGBeast calmly walking away from the scene be even more impactful.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batman #55 was an excellent chapter in Tom King’s ongoing run on this series. Throughout the issue King balances having fun of writing Batman and Nightwing working together as the Dynamic Duo alongside with building up tension with what KGBeast was planning. All that tension perfectly built to the final pages of Batman #55 that will have fans talking for a long time. That build up and final payoff makes Batman #55 a must read for any DC Comics fan.