Often a conclusion comes with a bang, or a whimper. However, few if any come exactly as they need to, while not how one would expect. Which of these does Batman #85 fall into?
Tom King, Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles bring the ‘City of Bane’ to a close, with an epilogue by James Tynion IV, Gullem March, Tomeu Morey and Cowles.
Bruce Wayne confronts Thomas Wayne, revealing that he was one step ahead of the man pretending to be his father all along alongside Selina. As they face off, we see the aftermath of the City of Bane, Thomas’s actions, and everything Bruce and Selina have been through. Meanwhile, dark forces rally against the Bat, once and for all.
King’s last chapter was entirely not what I expected, but it was executed so well that I was thrilled to read it. The confrontation between Bruce and Thomas is simple, but it’s powerful- Thomas is not his father, Bruce is his own man, and he makes the choice he was always meant to. He chooses both Selina… and the Bat. It’s quiet, simple, but powerful, exactly what a run centered on Bruce Wayne’s humanity needed to be.
King also structures it uniquely, and it makes for the maximum impact. The main story and the epilogues are intertwined, jumping back and forth over the course of several weeks, which helps the pacing of the story. It brings four years of story to the perfect close.
Janin and Bellaire are the perfect art team to bring the story full circle. They homage the entire run, homaging the other artists to work on this epic story, while keeping their own style at the heart of the art. Janin lays out the pages to draw the reader through the story, while pulling the point of view out for the maximum impact of the story. Bellaire mixes between warm and cool tones, which helps the emotional beats of the script land as intended.
Tynion IV, March and Morey’s epilogue is only three pages but they do exactly what they need to for their run to come next month. It’s a call back to classic Batman stories, but adds a modern twist, and a thrilling setup.
This run has made me a die hard Batman reader for the first time, and I’m glad that there’s more to come from King in the future. I’m also excited to see what Tynion IV will do, especially with the tease we see here. This will be remembered as one of the greats, and rightfully so.
Batman #85 is available now from DC Comics.