Batman has been going down one of the darkest roads we have ever seen the character has gone done. There have been multiple events in Batman’s life that has led him to go further and further down this route. All of it so far was worked extremely well to further the broken Batman angle that Tom King is playing with. Seeing Bane back in the fold, while still working from the shadows, was an interesting turn to begin this new story arc built around Penguin’s current position. With the previous issue ending with Batman and Penguin having a big face to face there is no telling where King will take his run moving forward. Let’s find that out now with Batman #59.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
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: Batman stands outside the front gate of Arkham Asylum. The gate opens as lightning strikes the ground.
Earlier Batman slams the desk and tells Penguin he does not believe him.
Back in the present a GCPD SWAT team tells Batman to stand down. Batman tells the SWAT team to stand aside. When they don’t Batman proceeds to knock a one of them against the wall. Terrified the remaining SWAT team members step aside for Batman to enter Arkham Asylum.
Earlier Penguin reveals to Batman that Bane is responsible for the death of the three women Batman has been investigating and assigning himself and others special projects. Batman doesn’t believe this as Bane is incapacitated in Arkham Asylum. Penguin calls says Bane has made Batman look like a fool if he can’t tell the truth of what is going on.
Back in the present Batman enters Bane’s cell. Bane is terrified of Batman, acting like a child calling for his mom for help. Batman grabs Bane and says he knows Bane is playing a game of deception. Batman says the game is over.
Batman then proceeds to beat Bane up throughout the cell.
Earlier, Batman explains to Penguin that why he doesn’t believe Penguin. Batman says it is because if what he said about Bane was true Penguin would be dead for betraying Bane. Penguin explains that he knows he is dead already but what is driving him into such a madness to betray Bane is love. Batman stays silent when he hears this.
Back in the present Batman continues to beat Bane within an inch of his life. In his rage Batman starts hitting Bane harder as he goes over all the things he believes Bane to be responsible for. Bane begs for Batman to stop. Batman tells Bane to get up or else he will hit him. Bane gets back up. When he does Batman knocks Bane back down with a punch.
Batman then grabs Bane by his head. He orders Bane to tell him who he is, to say “I am Bane.” When he does not say that Batman nails Bane with a headbut.
Earlier, Batman still thinks Penguin is lying. Penguin tells Batman he is surrendering and no real threat. Batman lets Penguin go. Penguin then tells Batman to call Commissioner Gordon to have him arrested for the death of the three women. He goes on to state that Batman will learn of his veracity and Batman’s vengeance will become his. Penguin states he’ll have comfort in that as he lays dead in his grave next to his wife, who Bane had murdered.
Back in the present, Commissioner Gordon finds Batman beating the life out of Bane. Gordon tells Batman to stop. Batman states Bane is just acting catatonic as he is actually using Arkham Asylum as his base of operation.
Gordon still tries to get Batman off Bane. When he does Batman tells Gordon to let him go. When Gordon does not Batman punches Gordon in the face.
Bloodied by the punch, Gordon tells Batman to leave or be arrested for trespassing. He goes on to state that if Batman does not leave the entire GCPD and Justice League will make sure Batman is arrested. He then says he is sick of Batman and to get out of his sight.
Earlier, Penguin is confused on how he can show Batman he is doing this out of love for his deceased wife. He goes on to explain the memory of his wife and how that is all he has to prove to Batman he is telling the truth.
In the present as doctors are moving Bane to a medical facility Batman is swinging to the city. Batman contacts Alfred to find out where Penguin is. Alfred states Penguin is in his prison cell. Alfred asks about what happened with Bane. Batman says he denied everything. Alfred wonders if Batman believes Bane. Batman says he is not sure.
At a hospital Bane wakes up bloodied and bruised. As he wakes up Bane smiles. End of issue.
The Good: Batman #59 was another exceptional issue by Tom King. Through the knowledge he has provided to the readers about what Bane has been doing King has been able to craft a long-term story with plenty of questions and turns. All of this has come together to create a Batman story you can’t get your attention away from because you want to know what is going to happen next.
What makes this arc particularly interesting is that we are left in the dark with what angle Penguin is working. In the last chapter King got us behind Penguin’s motives to either work for or double cross Bane. King drove home why Penguin’s would help Batman throughout the the flashback interaction that it was clear that he was speaking some sort of truth.
Though King throws a wrench in Penguin’s motives as we learn by the end of Batman #59 that he is still alive and has been untouched since going back to Arkham Asylum. Adding that fact puts into question if everything we see Penguin go through in the previous issue was indeed fact. Afterall we just learned that Penguin had this secret wife that no one knew about even though King had the character state their was this deep love for between Oswalt and Penny Cobblepot.
This fact does make you wonder if Penguin’s elaborate story, including what we saw happen in Batman #58, was all an act that he planned out with Bane. Afterall by the end of Batman #59 we saw Bane give a smile that everything went exactly how he planned it would go. It wouldn’t be a surprising thing development. It all feeds in perfectly with how King has made Bane’s plot to break Batman a complex plan that uses an army of characters, including Penguin.
Given that Batman did seem to walk in perfectly into Bane’s plan there are also questions as to how Batman will be able to overcome so much. Because as this grand plot develops we are seeing Batman break more and more into a someone that has become completely unhinged. The way he brutally beats Bane showed exactly how much Batman is broken. The entire beating was just on another level of brutality that we only see in Elseworld Batman stories.
Batman punching Commissioner Gordon was a major moment in how unhinged Batman is looking. This was something that captured the unexpected nature of Batman doing this as he was completely lost in punishing Bane for what he has done. Commissioner Gordon threatening Batman with sending the force of the entire GCPD and Justice League effectively showed the unhinged perception Batman is giving everyone.
Also in breaking the relationship with Commissioner Gordon there is yet one less person that Batman can turn to that he considers a close ally. With Nightwing already out of the equation after being shot in the head, Commissioner Gordon was the last person Batman needed this to happen. Especially given that we have seen that he has pushed Batgirl and Red Hood away in recent issues outside this series. This leaves Alfred as the only person that Batman trusts. How having Alfred as his only close ally affects Batman will be interesting to see playout.
Mikel Janin once again delivered excellent artwork. His art for Batman #59 was absolutely stunning. He did a fantastic job putting over the brutal beating that Batman gave Bane in Arkham. Janin did an equally strong job in showing us the conviction Penguin spoke with when talking to Batman about why he would go against Bane’s orders.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batman #59 was another phenomenal chapter in Tom King’s epic run on this series. The way King continues to write the ongoing war between Batman and Bane just gets more fascinating with every passing issue. The fantastic artwork by Mikel Janin’s elevated the story in Batman #59 to another level. If you haven’t checked out King’s run thus far I highly recommend reading “The Tyrant Wing” arc out as an example of how great this series has been up to this point.