Batman #5

by Kalem Lalonde on August 17, 2016

Written by: Tom King
Art by: David Finch 

Batman has been a strong title since Rebirth began despite not being as strong as some would have hoped. To many, this book seemed like a little rough patch for Tom King whose writing is usually nothing short of spectacular. I personally have loved King’s method of slowly pacing his book in order to develop strong themes. Though clearly, this has not been enough to satisfy every reader. Batman #5 is an issue that will respond with everyone. Tom King and David Finch did it. They gave us an issue that lived up to the promise of this title.
Following the events of Batman #4, Gotham is now hellbent on taking down the city that refused to let him save it. Batman must call in the Justice League (I must say Tom King writes Superman perfectly and he should be put on a Superman book ASAP) to help him defeat Gotham. This results in an incredible action sequence where King finds a great mix of intimate moments and punching. The format of this issue should satisfy people who have found this series to be uneventful and slow. Though more importantly, King has proved here that the wait is worth the payoff in his comics. This series may have had its slow moments but they have resulted in an awesome sequence that has been earned by the meticulous character building.
Tom King is seriously not getting enough credit for how truly important this book is. In 5 issue, King has managed to perfectly define why Batman belongs in Gotham and why no other hero can save it. Batman can manage fighting the insanity of Gotham City and not want to destroy it like Gotham does in this issue. In a phenomenal climactic page that shows exactly why Batman and Gotham City have a symbiotic relationship, King achieves a moment that will define Batman as a character for me.
Upon seeing Batman v Superman and hating the portrayal of Batman I had a lot of thoughts about how multi-canoned characters should be evaluated when being adapted and redefined. I came to the conclusion that there are several key elements in each version of the character that are fundamentally required for the character to work. Tom King has shown me that Batman’s relationship with Gotham City is a key to the success of his character. That is how phenomenal the character work in this issue is. It has defined an aspect of Batman that I think is necessary for creating an ultimate version of the character.
Alongside King’s genius writing comes David Finch’s gloomy and powerful art-work. Finch needs to be applauded for the incredible work he has done over the last five issues. Finch is an artist whose work tends to decline issue to issue but he has done the opposite on this book. Finch’s action is always great but he really impresses in the subtlety of his character-work. He enhances the resonance of King’s script by capturing the anger of Gotham and the despair of Batman perfectly. I am looking forward to seeing what Janin does with this book in the coming issues but Finch will be missed. He has done some of the best work of his career in these 5 issues.
Batman #5 is typical Tom King which, as previously stated, is nothing short of spectacular. There is no awkward set-up for The Monster Men or sluggish pacing. Instead, there is remarkable character work, gloomy foreshadowing, and a beautiful statement on the relationship between Batman and Gotham. It took King a few issues but he has truly achieved excellence here. I have not been this optimistic for the future of Batman in quite some time.

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A Look Inside