Tom King brings his time as the DC Comics “Batman” writer to a close with the “City of Bane” story-arc, which is a whopping ten-part series that starts with issue 75, has a side-story in the second issue of Batman: Secret Files, and concludes with issue 85 (variant seen above). There are some spoilers in this review.
After “The Fall And The Fallen,” Thomas Wayne and Bane have completely taken over Gotham, turning into a fiefdom where Dr. Hugo Strange is made into the Police Commissioner, Arkham inmates have become police officers, and Thomas takes over as Batman. He’s moved into the mansion, holds Alfred captive, and takes the Ventriloquist as his butler. He has also taken Gotham Girl as an apprentice, who becomes so powerful she almost kills Captain Atom to keep the Justice League out. Robin, Batwoman, Red Robin, The Signal, and Batgirl have no idea what happened to Bruce, forcing Robin to try and infiltrate, but things go horribly wrong.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne was abandoned by Thomas in the desert following an ill-conceived plan to revive Martha in a Lazarus Pit. He manages to escape only to be captured by Magpie. After getting roughed up by her, Catwoman arrives to save him, vowing to make things right after abandoning him at the altar. This sets Bruce on a showdown with his “Flashpoint” father and to reclaim the mantle of the Batman.
The individual issues have some amazing talent when it comes to the artwork. Tony S. Daniels, Tomeu Morey, Jorge Fornes, Mikel Janin, just to name a few all put their best foot forward in illustrating and designing covers for this series. There is no disputing that.
My problem is with the writing. This story is overly complicated, with dozens of timelines and flashbacks that weave in with the main plot. This made it incredibly confusing. They also keep referring back to this bizarre Russian folktale that Bruce apparently liked as a kid. It was introduced in issue 57, but in the context, it seemed to be related to the KGBeast. However, it seems to be a storybook that Thomas would read to Bruce almost every night before he went to bed. This is referred to several times, but it was distracting.
On the dialogue, it was so clunky. The conversations were either too short or it was overly long and yawn-inducing. Thomas Wayne, in particular, had incredibly bad dialogue and the reasonings behind his action did not make sense to the actions he was taking.
This final part is where the spoilers came in. Tom King killed off Alfred in the most disrespectful way as possible. Thomas Wayne, who knew Alfred presumably, uses him as a hostage to keep the Batman Family out. When Damian Wayne violates this, he just shoots Alfred, murdering the innocent butler in cold blood. When Bruce discovers this, he reacts as one would expect, declaring that the “Flashpoint” Thomas is not his father. While it the way Batman pays tribute to his longtime friend was touching, the death was incredibly disrespectful to Alfred’s character. I have no issue with killing off characters, but it needs to be with good taste, this was incredibly poor taste.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my comic book reviews of Tales Of The Dark Multiverse: Batman Knightfall and Robotech Remix Issue 2. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.