Writer: Tom King
Artist: David Finch
Inks: David Mann, Seth Mann, and Danny Miki
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Summary from Comixology:“Aftermath”! Gotham City is at peace…but a war is coming. Armed with the terrifying knowledge gained from the mysterious button, Batman prepares for the coming storm by making a proposition to one of his enemies—one that will change everything for the Dark Knight and his allies!”
Before you continue, there WILL be Spoilers below.
Tom King’s Batman has been a completely different exploration of the character compared to the New 52 Batman by Scott Snyder. Snyder looked at the complex roles of his rouges gallery on Batman’s psyche and how Batman compared against villains such as Joker, Riddler, and Mr. Blood. But, for Tom King’s Batman, the focus is primarily on the humanity and the mortality of The Caped Crusader. I actully have an article in the works about how Batman is the real identity and Bruce Wayne is the alias, and King’s Batman is a prime example of that theory. This issue focuses on Batman and Gotham Girl sharing a conversation during the day that leads to events with Selena Kyle (Catwoman) later that night. And, the events between “Bat” and “Cat” will forever change the history of Batman. Along with already leaving such a huge impact on the character, King has proven that he is the best writer when it comes to handling the dynamics of Selena and Bruce, and this issue solidifies that.
Along with King showing his true understanding of Bruce and Selena we also continue to see beautiful work by David Finch and Danny Miki. There are countless alluring splash pages in this book, and even callbacks to the great The Dark Knight Returns. And, along with Finch, yet again, Jordie Bellaire proves that she is the best colorist in the business, and continues to blow me away with the colors she uses to make images truly pop off the pages.
The beautiful thing about this issue is how King splits the script in two separate stories, “Tonight” and “Today.” Where King shows his true artistic talent in his ability to effortlessly intertwine these stories into one breathtaking issue that reads like a fantastic moment in a classic film. Gotham Girl is asking Batman what she should do with her life; does she become a superhero, or does she hide her power and try to live a normal life and what is a “normal” life? She’s seeking Batman’s approval because he’s Batman.. and he matters, even if Batman can’t see his own worth. While discussing Batman’s worth we learn that he is not happy, and everything he’s doing is an act. Not only is he the great detective, but he’s also the great stand-in for the life he wants. Batman also examines how he views himself as a failure since he’s scared, and along with that fear in the back of his mind, he has to wonder if he’s insane for dressing like a bat and living the life he does.
But, the story isn’t full of sadness and introspective views. While discussing his fear with Gotham Girl he realizes he must do something for himself, something for Bruce Wayne. Bruce realizes that there is one thing he knows for certain without a reason of doubt, and that’s his love for Selena Kyle. So, that night, on rooftops, Batman approaches Catwoman and Bruce Wayne confesses his love for Selina, and in the dark night’s rain, he tells Selina to marry him, with the ring she stole on the night they met. (And before you say “This will never last, Batman doesn’t end up happy,” Tom King has mentioned from the beginning he’s changing the story of Batman and wants the Caped Crusader to end up happy.)
Also, I just want to mention Tom King is now a hero of mine for this simple tweet regarding Kellyann Conway.
If the WH is reading my work, I might have to add some subtle messaging.
BATMAN: Lying is bad!
— Tom King (@TomKingTK) June 9, 2017
I could only think of post-rock music to listen to while reading this issue. You needed something that could be background music but just as beautiful as the issue you are reading, and for that, I could only think about Do Make Say Think, specifically their song Herstory of Glory.