Batman #74 Sends The Dark Knight Into A Pit Of Despair

by Tony Thornley

For the last few issues of Batman, Thomas Wayne has dragged Bruce Wayne through the desert, determined to accomplish a horrific but impossible goal. In Batman #74, we learn more about how that may not be so impossible, but also exactly what Thomas hopes to accomplish…

Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles wrap up the Dark Knight’s latest adventure before the massive City of Bane starts next issue!

Thomas and Bruce fight their way through assassins, as father desperately tries to connect with son. Finally Thomas leads Bruce to their goal and tells Bruce all about this special Lazarus Pit- he’s going to use its waters to exchange one soul for another and resurrect Martha Wayne! Will Bruce allow it to happen?

King does some great things here. This issue on the writing side is entirely a character piece, with very little plot, as we get more and more insight into Thomas Wayne and what’s driving him forward. Bruce’s reactions are perfect, as this is not his father, and it’s clear he understands that and refuses to give into it for even a moment, even though they’re so similar. It makes the confrontation between the two even more emotional and impactful for us as readers, because Bruce’s anger at this imposter’s actions feels genuine, even if the circumstances are absolutely crazy.

Janin and Bellaire continue to be in a great lockstep. Janin makes a point to distinguish the two Batman, even though both are masked the whole time. It’s not just simple “Bruce is dressed like this, and Thomas is dressed like that” but it goes down to their body language, differences in the jawline and facial expressions, and even a little bit of their fighting styles. 

Bellaire is a master of establishing setting with color, and she shows us how good she is at that with the bright natural light of the desert around them, no matter the time of day. This gets even better in the pit, with the shadows coming through in more than just Janin’s thick inks. Bellaire makes sure the duo’s actions remain clear, while looking like they’re really standing in a large cave.

City of Bane kicks off next week, and I’m thrilled to see what happens, given the events of this story.

Batman #74 is available now from DC Comics.

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