Review – Batman #53 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tom King
Artwork: Lee Weeks
Colours: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 15th August 2018

The aftermath of Batman’s wedding day has been an unnerving sight to say the least. After so much build up to issue 50, we, like Bruce, thought this might finally be the moment we saw true happiness for our hero.  However as we all know, because of who he is Selina simply couldn’t risk the world losing something it needs as much as Batman.

Tom King has dealt with the aftermath of this monumental decision in a truly beautiful way. Over the last few issues he has really shown us fans just how human Batman truly is and just how deeply something like heartache can affect even a man tested and trained to the limits of human ability.

As many of us do after a personal loss, Bats threw himself back into his work, investigating a series of murders with a seemingly obvious culprit. We have since learned that, following his own postmortems, Batman identified that the brains of the victims had a lower temperature than normal, a discover which lead to a vicious pursuit of Mr Freeze and a subsequent confession. An open and shut case of another guilty Gotham psycho then, according to the jury at least.  That is, with the exception of one lone juror who doubts Batman’s methods. That juror? None other than Bruce Wayne.

We all have our little moments of clarity where we finally step outside ourselves and realise we’re on the wrong path. This particular issue provides a fantastic retrospective of Bruce’s own life in this, the latest in a long line of dark times. By questioning his own actions and looking back at the moments that brought him to this mistake we see a man lost, searching for who he was back when he felt like he had the strength to get through anything.

This issue stands as a fantastic piece of art in its own right, with the artwork depicting a dream-like series of flashbacks with subtle hints of acknowledgment of Bruce’s heartache – alongside a refusal to dwell on it for more than a moment. We see again how Bruce became the Bat as well as Batman’s importance to this world, simultaneously explaining his faults and just why the world needs him so badly. But more importantly, we get to see why Bruce needs him and why he needs, now more than ever, to live up to the iconic status he has fallen from in this dark time.

It reminded me so much of the teaser to Arkham Origins, in the way we get to see the ever-changing face of Bruce through his loss then training into Batman, reminded throughout that he is just a man through the unchanging eyes staring ahead into the future.

On a purely superficial note, I was really unsure about them bringing back the original costume for Batman until I read this issue. It’s an important part of his character and his journey through emotional recovery, and by the last panel all my doubts had gone and it truly felt like a cathartic trip with a beloved character.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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