When DC decided to reboot their entire comic line in 2011 with the launch of the New 52, it was a bit nerve wracking for fans on what they might do with their favorite heroes. While many stories thrived and others failed, one thing hasn’t changed and it’s the way people write The Caped Crusader. Scott Snyder took on Batman with the New 52 and brought something so fresh and unique to the character, as well as the BatFamily and his rouges gallery. In 2016 DC once again decided to give their characters a clean slate with Rebirth, this time keeping continuity with what had been established with New 52. The cape and cowl were then handed off to Tom King, who took Batman and took readers on entirely different ride then what he had seen before. Humanizing Batman in a way that fans never thought possible, and putting him through a pain and agony the Dark Knight has ever faced as Gothams savior. Tom Kings run began with issue #1 and concluded with issue #85, at that time it was passed along to Jame Tyrion IV who has done Batman justice so far. But we would like to explore the stories that led to it, the stories that made us think a little differently about Batman and the way Tom King captivated us with his storytelling.
Also Read: Batman – All Three DCEU Versions Explained!!
Issues #9-#13: I Am Suicide
After the events of the story I Am Gotham, which introduced the heroes Gotham and Gotham Girl. Gotham died during battle, and Gotham Girl was left traumatized from the experience. Batman takes it upon himself to reassemble her broken mind with the help of the Psycho Pirate, who has the ability to control people’s emotions. Unfortunately, the Pirate has been taken by Bane who is using the Pirate to overcome his addiction to Venom. Batman enlists the help of Punch & Jewlee, Ventriloquist, Bronze Tiger and Catwoman to infiltrate Santa Prisca and retrieve the Psycho Pirate. Batmans plan begins after he is captured and locked in a cell, just to escape and make his way through Santa Prisca. Bronze Tiger, Punch and Jewlee all arrive together and Bronze Tiger uses Punch and Jewlee as an offer to Bane, in exchange for information on how to kill Batman since Bane is the only one who has come the closest. Catwoman appears and slashes Punch and Jewlees throats and reveals Batmans plan to Bane. She offers Bane how he can break the Bat, despite not having the strength of Venom to fuel him. In return he must give her a plane, money and a way to disappear. Bane calls out Batman, Batman makes his way through the prison fighting off his men until he finally makes it back to Banes throne room. The death of Punch and Jewlee turn out to be a ploy in Batmans plan, as they are still alive and are making their way out of the prison. Bronze Tiger gets his hands on venom and returns back to Banes throne room with the Ventriloquist. Now that everything has come together as planned, Batman makes the signal for Catwoman to break Banes back. Meanwhile, the Ventriloquist meets the Psycho Pirate who tries to control Wesker, but is unable to do so. Since Scarface takes control of Wesker, the Pirates power is useless against him. Scarface manages to take out Psycho Pirate and Batman can now return him to Gotham. Broken and without the assistance of the Pirates powers, Bane must now resort to Venom once again. Setting up for the coming events of Banes return and pushing Batman to his absolute limits. As well as a rekindling of the romance between Batman and Catwoman.
Issues #16-#20: I Am Bane
Now that Batman has the Psycho Pirate back, he is expecting Bane to make his way into Gotham and reclaim him. Bruce sits with Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Damian Wayne and Duke Thomas to warn them of Banes arrival and encourages them to leave Gotham. Bruce explains that it will take five days for the Pirates powers to take effect on Gotham Girl, and he will need to hold off Bane until the process is complete. Later, Batman returns to the Batcave to find Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin all hung with the words I Am Bane inscribed on them. Batman quickly takes them to the Fortress of Solitude to be put in cryostasis so they can heal from their injuries and receive protection from Superman. Alfred sneaks Claire into Arkham Asylum to meet with the Psycho Pirate and begin their rehabilitation progress, while Batman waits on the rooftop of Arkham for any sign of Bane. Unfortunately, Commissioner Gordon, Duke Thomas, Catwoman and Bronze Tiger have been ambushed and captured by Bane. Bane presents them on the rooftop and makes an offer to Batman to free his allies in exchange for the Psycho Pirate. Batman refuses and the two start trading blows, after Bane defeats Batman he still refuses to give up the Pirate. Bane uses his walkie to radio his henchmen to execute the hostages, but Catwoman responds and reveals how this had all been a part of Batmans plan. When Bane looks back at Batman, he is entering Arkham. Bane follows him into the Asylum, but is met by the inmates of Arkham. Batman has offered the inmates improvements to make their stay more comfortable, in exchange they bring Bane to him alive. Many of inmates agree, and so now Bane must fight his way through the likes of Two-Face, Solomon Grundy, Scarecrow, and Mr. Freeze to make his way back to Batman. The two face off for an epic battle, despite Bane controlling most of the combat. Batman manages to overcome the brute and win the fight, showing us the sheer will the Dark Knight possesses and is ability to push himself beyond his limits for the greater good of another person. Regardless of the size or power of another being, when Batman’s mind is set on carrying out the mission, he will stop at nothing to finish it.
Issues #25-#32: The War of Jokes and Riddles
Bruce explains the story about the War of Jokes and Riddles, starting back to when he was already established as Batman, but still finding his barring as the hero Gotham needs. Jumping back to that time, the Joker has seemed to have lost his ability to laugh and has been taking out his frustration on local comedians who also can’t seem to make the Joker laugh. The Riddler arrives and explains to Joker how Batman is the reason he lost his laughter, and if they combine forces they can kill Batman. Instead, Joker shoots Riddler in the stomach and leaves him there to die. Shortly after, Batman arrives to help the Nygma and informs him that the Joker has taken a bomb from him and intends to use it on Gotham. Riddler encourages Batman to go after him, sending Batman on a chase after the Joker and allowing the Riddler to leave the scene. Riddler manages to get medical attention, and turns his attention to Poison Ivy to receive her assistance in the war that is about to begin with Joker. Meanwhile, Joker takes out Carmine Falcones men and forces Oswald Cobblepot to be his new assistant, thus starting the criminal career of The Penguin. It’s revealed that Gotham and its supervillains have picked sides between Joker and Riddler, starting the war between the two. The story then jumps to the point of Charles Brown, who has been working for all the players at hand. Working for both Joker and Riddler, as well as assisting Batman in apprehending the both of them. When things don’t work out Riddler poisons Browns son, killing him. Putting Charles Brown on the path to become Kite Man. While the war wages on and neither side willing to make a settlement, Batman decides to work with the lesser of two evils and sides with Joker to try and stop Joker. Setting up a plan for Batman and Riddler to be alone with Joker, they confront the clown to take him out. But due to Batmans inexperience, he intends to kill the Riddler in order to end the war. Batman swings his blade at Riddler, but the Joker stops it and finds the humor in the incident which in turn brings back his laugh. Bruce finishes the story to Selina, explaining to her that his greatest sin was to think killing was the way to win the battle.
Issues #45-#47: The Gift
Taking place before Batman and Catwomans wedding, Booster Gold attempts to offer a gift to Bruce Wayne but things take a dark turn. Booster Gold returns from the past to find Gotham in chaos, the Green Lantern turning into a Joker and killing himself, and Dick Grayson as a gun toting killer Batman. Booster tries to find Bruce Wayne in hopes his gift worked out, he finds Bruce safe and happy with his parents still alive. Booster explains that as a wedding gift to Batman he traveled back to when Bruces parents were killed and saved them, thus changing the future where Bruces parents weren’t murdered in Crime Alley and didn’t send Bruce on the path to being Batman. When Booster explains this to Bruce, he destroys Skeets who holds the time travel machine that could fix everything. A year later Booster finds Selina Kyle who still takes on the persona of Catwoman, his plan is to introduce her and Bruce together and hope they might fall in love. Booster and Catwoman arrive at Wayne Manor but instead of his plan working out the way he expected, Catwoman attacks Alfred and slashes his throat while also killing Thomas Wayne. At the same time, Batman bashes through the window to fight Catwoman. Batman accidently fires his gun and hits Martha, killing her at the same time. The story once again jumps one year into the future, Bruce has been teaching himself how to handle and use a wide array of guns, while also having Booster Gold chained in his basement. Bruce fixed Skeets and when he was prepared, he brought Booster and Skeets back together so they can travel to the day his parents are murdered. Booster pulls off a switch on Bruce and takes them to the day Bruces parents died at age eight. Suddenly, future Booster appears to save Bruces parents but is stopped by present Booster. In a struggle with Bruce, a gunshot is fired. Showing Thomas recommend they take a different way home, away from the gun sounds. Leading them down Crime Alley and meeting their demise, putting back young Bruce Wayne to become Batman. Booster manages to travel back to the present, everything is back to way it was as he explains his insane adventure to the real Batman and Catwoman as they prepare for their wedding day.
Issues #75-#85: City of Bane
Tom King’s Epic run comes to its thrilling conclusion as Bane takes over Gotham and makes it his own. Villains who have not taken Banes side are subject to be hunted by Thomas Wayne as Batman and his side kick Gotham Girl. The BatFamily are forced out of the city when Bane threatens to kill Alfred if they are sited, as well as no sign of Batman. Bruces body is found in a wintery wasteland by Selina Kyle, who takes him away to heal and regroup himself. First traveling to Paris, Selina steals expensive memorabilia for money to earn enough and go to somewhere they can’t be identified. Meanwhile, Gotham continues to be in control of the mad brute and his forces. Flashpoint Batman and Gotham Girl keep gathering more and more villains who are fighting against Banes rule, even going as far as dismantling other heroes who try to enter the city. Damian decides to enter the city and save Alfred. Battling through the villains of Gotham, he is eventually caught by Flashpoint Batman and taken back to Bane. Bane is a man of his word and forces Robin to watch him snap Alfreds neck, killing him. Elsewhere, Selina proceeds to assist Bruce in regaining his strength and gather his thoughts to take down Bane. When they both meet to a mutual understanding of each other after they both abandoned their wedding, they come together to go back to Gotham and reclaim the city. Batman and Catwoman sneak around the city to figure out Banes control, while also taking out the villains. The Batfamily confront Flashpoint Batman, but are quickly defeated. Finally the Bat and the Cat meet Bane, the three engage in battle and manage to defeat Bane. Just as Bruce is about to break Banes back over his knee, he is shot by Flashpoint Batman. When Batman wakes up, he is startled by the sight of Alfreds dead body sitting across from him. Batman then meets with his father, who explains his hand in all of the events that have taken place since The Button story. After the events of Flashpoint, the present day version of Reverse Flash took Thomas Wayne and brought him to our world, forcing him to live in world where his son shares the same pain he does of being Batman. Thomas has been watching Bruce and the cause of all the negative events that have taken place. The Father and Son engage in battle, Bruce defeats his Father and shows him that he is the true Batman. Nothing can stop him from fulfilling his potential to be Batman, not even his father.
While Tom Kings take on Batman might seem a bit controversial at times. But otherwise, it was an insane ride King took us on and gave us a unique perspective on Batman. Since Tyrion has taken the reigns of Batman, he has continued to impress us with his story telling and has given readers promise for more amazing stories about the Dark Knight.