Gotham City has been through so much that sometimes it’s a wonder how the city even exists any more. However, what happens when peace is finally brought to the city, even through a vicious dictator? That’s the question Batman #76 asks, and more…
Tom King, Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, Norm Rapmund, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles dive deeper into the City of Bane.
We follow three separate stories as Bane’s rule over Gotham continues. Kite Man and Scarecrow try to flee Arkham with Batman close on their trail. Gotham Girl shows Captain Atom why heroes should stay out of Gotham. Meanwhile, Selina Kyle tries to find help for a comatose Bruce Wayne…
For an issue that was largely set-up and worldbuilding it’s still a fascinating read. It shows the desperation of even the villains, which makes the situation feel much worse that we initially believed. It adds a depth to the situation that hadn’t previously been there.
King also brings in one part of the Batman mythos that he really hasn’t spent a lot of time with- the Bat-family. The back half of the issue brings in Damian and Tim, setting them up to be a larger part of the story moving forward, but it also shows the toll this is taking on the characters we love just as much as those trapped in Gotham. It does however fall into one trope that was executed well, but still fell into cliche- Gotham Girl brutally beating Captain Atom, showing the biggest guy in the room that this character is bigger.
Daniel’s line work with Florea and Rapmund looks great. They convey the villains’ fear and desperation through body language and facial expression, which especially works well with Scarecrow, even though he never takes off his mask, while keeping the perspectives tight on the characters. They also shift gears with the fight between Gotham Girl and Captain Atom, using wider camera angles and more open page layouts. Morey uses small shifts in color to add to the mood- earthy tones as the villains are chased, blues in the fight between Gotham Girl and Atom and so on.
The City of Bane is definitely not a great place to live and it might be a worse place to visit, but I can’t wait to see what happens in it.
Batman #76 is available now from DC Comics.