After experiencing the events of “Knightmare” Batman has finally woken up. Now that he is back Batman is ready to take the war straight to Bane. That approach didn’t end up working out for Batman as Bane’s plan now had the Dark Knight turn against his family after they started to doubt his belief about the villains plot. After doing that Batman and Bane now face off one-on-one inside the Wayne Mansion with Alfred Pennyworth and Flashpoint Thomas Wayne watch as audience members. Who can come out on top in this fight that is sure to break either Batman or Bane? Let’s find out with Batman #72.
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Inside Wayne Manor Batman and Bane go back and forth in a fight throughout the mansion.
As the fight goes on Flashpoint Thomas Wayne thinks about how from the beginning Bane has set Batman up to break him. From Batman teaming with Gotham and Gotham Girl to assembling a Suicide Squad team to go after Bane in Santa Prisca to having Batman believe Bane was just after revenge when attacking Gotham City.
Flashpoint Thomas Wayne compliments Bane for his original plan as he made Bruce, who related a lot with his villains, believed that by allowing himself to fall in love with Selina Kyle that he could replace the pain of morality with the love of his life.
From there Bane went about executing his plan to use Booster Gold, Skeets, Joker and Holly Robinson to cause Selina to believe that by marrying her Bruce would not be able to be Batman anymore.
We then see the fight get more and more intense until Bane finally gains the upper hand and is able to smash Batman over his knee with brutal backbreaker.
As Bane stands over a physically broken Batman, Flashpoint Thomas knows Bane isn’t done as he now will solidify the fact he is the one person that will never be broken. Flashpoint Thomas then questions how he will help his son now. End of issue.
The Good: As a standalone issue Tom King, Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes hit on Batman #72 hits the mark on what the goal was. For that King and company are able to add to the questions that “The Fall and the Fallen” has created for how this will all go down between Batman and Bane. Unfortunately Batman #72 is a standalone issue. This is part of a greater narrative as it is a purely recap issue. And when placed within that there nothing new except for the possibility opened in the final page of Batman #72.
Framing the entire issue of Batman #72 around Flashpoint Thomas Wayne was the best choice King could have made. Since reappearing after “The Button” storyline Flashpoint Thomas Wayne has been the biggest wild card in Bane’s plan. We finally started to get an idea why Flashpoint Thomas got involved with Bane at the end of “Knightmares.” Still there were a lot of questions into what his true motivations are in King’s greater narrative.
Those questions aren’t necessarily answered with Batman #72. What King does do though is further position Flashpoint Thomas as an even bigger wild card in this story. The final few lines in Flashpoint Thomas’ inner monologue in particular stood out. Seeing him question what he should do next for his son shows that his love for his son, even an alternate version of Bruce Wayne, still exist. Now what we are left wondering is if that love for his son will make Flashpoint Thomas change sides. Creating that question is the biggest success that King accomplishes with Batman #72.
The artwork between Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes was once again top notch for their respective parts in Batman #72. While there artwork does not mesh with one another they still nailed what they were tasked to draw in King’s story. Fornes did a fantastic job showing how brutal Batman and Bane’s fight was. Specifically the pleasure in Bane’s face as he knew how the fight would end helped tell the story of their fight.
The Bad: When it comes down to it Batman #72 does not introduce anything new. Batman #72 is a glorified recap issue that at this point was unnecessary. Since we are just coming off the “Knightmares” arc that went on for far too long this is the last thing King’s greater narrative needed. At this point King needed to focus on moving all the final pieces forward. That means the focus does not need to be just on Batman and Bane, especially with “City of Bane” likely focusing on them.
The narrative structure also did not help Flashpoint Thomas Wayne that much. The only real insight we got was at the very end of Batman #72 when we learned it was his inner monologue. Before that final page King, Fornes or Janin hint that this was Flashpoint Thomas Wayne talking. With how many villains are on Bane’s side it could have been any of them. It could have even been Alfred, who was heavily focused on at the end of Batman #71.
Waiting until the end to show us Flashpoint Thomas Wayne standing on the side made it come across as though King was the one talking to the reader. It only further spotlighted the fact that the fight between Batman and Bane was nothing more than a backdrop for King recapping the reader on everything that has happened up to this point. This late into the story this was unnecessary. Because the reality is “The Fall and the Fallen” is built for readers who are familiar with King’s Batman run.
Making the entire purpose of Batman #72 worse was the fact that we are just coming off “Knightmares” where Bruce Wayne basically said the same thing that Flashpoint Thomas went over in his head. Getting another person stating how Bane went about breaking Batman was made the entire voice of the issue come across as monotone. There was no inflection that could be implied by the reader since we just heard this same thing a few issues ago.
It also continues to be odd how King tries to make the events of “The Gift” something that Bruce experienced. As it was presented, Bruce only knows the details that Booster Gold told him. Bruce himself did not experience that alternate future whatsoever. Given everything Batman has experienced over his career as both a solo hero and Justice League member alternate history information does not affect him anymore. So the events of “The Gift” was only important to drive home Catwoman’s thoughts that Bruce can’t be in love and be Batman at the same time.
This was not helped by the fact that Janin’s artwork was designed to look like a poster rather than be part of the natural flow of the story. As great as Janin’s artwork look there was no sense of movement to it. We were just sort of stuck in a freeze frame until Flashpoint Thomas finished his point about each flashback. It all furthered the idea that Batman #72 was a pure recap issue rather than an issue that moved the greater narrative forward.
Overall: Tom King and Jorge Fornes delivered a brutal fight between Batman and Bane that emphasized the intensity of their war. Unfortunately their brutal fight was drowned out by the inner monologue of Flashpoint Thomas Wayne that was nothing more than a recap of King’s entire Batman run. This decision made the entire issue move at a crawl, causing Batman #72 to fall more in the skip rather than must read category.
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