“City of Bane” Part 2
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Tony S. Daniel and Mitch Gerads
Color Artists: Tomeu Morey and Mitch Gerads
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review By Eric Lee
Minor spoilers ahead
Batman #76 is a fun tale that fills in the gaps in Gotham’s new status quo. However, readers looking for plot progression may come away a little disappointed.
One thing that Batman #76 has over the previous issue is actualized concepts. Writer Tom King literally dropped readers into the new status quo last time. While it’s an intentional trick to disorient and engage the audience, it can sometimes be a let-down, in that we don’t see any build-up to Bane’s domination of Gotham City.
This isn’t the case here. In this issue we see the drama in the conflict of Gotham Girl versus Captain Atom. We see how Flashpoint Batman evokes fear in other characters. King shows what happens to people who go against Bane’s plans, and witness tension between the Bat-family over what to do. These are great character bits that King sometimes misses or skips over. They are not necessarily poetic or lyrical, but they humanize the characters and the premise more. It’s highly satisfying to actually see the drama unfold through reactions.
Some may quibble that the overall plot doesn’t move forward at all. Those critics aren’t wrong, but given that comics historically provide a string of fun, entertaining moments, it is somewhat forgivable.
Weird Scene Changes
The downside is some of the narrative choices took some enjoyment out of the issue for me. For some reason, King likes to abruptly cut between scenes. Many of the sequences don’t have a logical endpoint. Something happens, then smash cut to a different subplot, then smash cut back to the first plot.
This is most glaring in the two main storylines: Catwoman tending to Bruce and Captain Atom versus Gotham Girl. We see Catwoman in Paris and then quickly cut away to see Captain Atom confront Gotham Girl. This back and forth continues with little regard on how scenes end. I would have preferred it if we just read all of the Catwoman pages straight through and separately read all the Captain Atom pages straight through.
Speaking of Catwoman’s subplot, it goes nowhere. It doesn’t really reveal anything new, nor does it progress the overall story. The Catwoman pages feel like filler. They could have been exorcised with little consequence.
Tony Daniel’s art is more consistent than the last issue. However, it may be because he gets to draw characters that are more suited for him, like Batman, Robin, or Scarecrow.
Batman #76 makes for a fun, but disjointed reading experience. It does a good job in depicting the fringe benefits and pitfalls of Bane’s domination, but also jerks readers around from scene to scene with little finesse at times and has unnecessary Catwoman filler pages. Overall, the comic is an okay read with some storytelling flaws in it.
Images Courtesy Of DC Entertainment