Review – Batman #52 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tom King
Artwork: Lee Weeks
Colours: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 1st August 2018

It really is Batman vs. Bruce Wayne this week as Bruce attempts to disprove the methodology and reasoning behind the Dark Knight’s takedown of Mr Freeze.  And, as Bruce takes us on a journey showing us the events leading up to the capture of the sub-zero mega villain we are left with some serious doubts as to what actually happened.

Tom King crafts his story in such a way that it’s really very difficult to know what actually happened on that fateful night.  The entire book reads and feels like a detective procedural as we are taken on a series of heart-wrenching flashbacks which allow us to see just how affected Bruce has been by the breakup of his relationship.  We see a Batman who has perhaps gone too far and lost control at the worst possible time.

Lee Weeks is fantastic on art duties this issue and provides a series of panels that help make the story feel both beautiful and brutal.  Much of this particular story takes place in a court room and as such we have a series of talking heads which are all given a realistic touch.  The doubt, conviction and in some cases, the humour is drawn with a distinctive and photo real look.  The sequences featuring Batman himself are fluid and startling, and the final panels are likely to make most people flinch or recoil in horror.

Elizabeth Breitweiser brings life to the proceedings with a distinctive yet muted colour scheme which really helps sell the detective noir feel of the book.  The sequences featuring Dr Freeze bathe the entire book in a cold blue haze that the reader can almost feel as they flick through the pages.  The issue is clearly split, with the warm and soft tones used during the daytime scenes featuring the jury providing a stark contrast to the dark and shadowy panels featuring Batman.

This issue is a wonderful look at the nature of self-doubt and pressure. Did Bruce make the right decisions as Batman, and when the Bat makes a mistake, is there anyone around who is ready to stand up to him?  The idea that Batman is infallible may on the surface sound weird but the people of Gotham really do seem to trust the mythos of Batman and perhaps are unwilling to make any kind of argument that would cast him in a bad light.

Tom King and his rotating creative team continue to delight and entrance with yet another deconstruction of the world’s greatest detective and his methods of apprehending his foes.  We are shown a slightly out of control Batman who could be making the wrong decisions and we really get to feel Bruce’s struggle against himself.  King is taking great pleasure in exploring the methods of the Bat as well as public opinion of Gotham’s shadowy hero and I can’t wait until the next issue to see how this story unfolds.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato

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