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Batman #16 is the first issue in the newest Tom King story-arc, “I am Bane”. This arc threads together the previous two major arcs (I am Suicide and I am Gotham), and will address unanswered questions about Gotham Girl and Bane. Will this finally be the fight between Bane and Batman we’ve been waiting for? ComiConverse contributor Abel Loza takes a look at Batman #16 and gets us ready for this newest chapter in Batman’s ongoing story.
Review: Batman #16
“Do you want to Jokerize those fries?
Day one: While at Arkham Asylum, Batman is attacked from behind by Bronze Tiger, who, if you remember, was part of his Suicide Squad that went to Santa Prisca. In the tussle, Bronze Tiger is wounded with a gunshot. The security guard who shot Bronze Tiger then turns his attention to the doctor, and we soon find out that the guard is an undercover agent for an as yet unknown agent. Fortunately, Batman takes out the guard and it is revealed that Bronze Tiger was working with Batman the whole time. They knew the guard was crooked, and now know he was working with Bane.
Bane is after the Psycho-Pirate again, and won’t stop until he gets him. Bronze Tiger is coming down from Venom, just like Bane, so he fully understands why Bane is after Psycho-Pirate. Batman now has five days to get everything in order to try and stop Bane before he gets to Gotham City. Bruce needs those 5 days to help Gotham Girl and he needs Psycho-Pirate’s help. Bane will do whatever he can in those five days to get to the mask and Psycho-Pirate back.
After gathering the Batfamily at a “BatBurger”, Bruce tells Dick, Jason, Duke and Damian that Bane is coming to Gotham. After the death of Tim he is focused on protecting them, so he tells all of them to leave town. In true Robin fashion, all but Duke pay attention to orders and are ready to fight Bane behind Batman’s back.
After warning the Robins, Batman goes to the rooftops to find Gordon. Instead, he runs into Catwoman. Catwoman, not Gordon turned on the Batsign. She knows that if Bane finds her, he’ll kill her. Just as Gordon is about to arrest her, Catwoman escapes and Gordon blames Batman in some part for her getting away.
Later that night, Batman starts the first of five sessions with Gotham Girl to restore her to normalcy. As they are walking into the Batcave, they see Dick, Jayson and Damon hanging by their neck with “I am Bane” spray painted across their bodies.
Before we start, I’d like to bring up a side note: I don’t see how Bruce Wayne isn’t bombarded with people when he is at a public place. He was at the BatBurger ordering food, and not a single person asked him for an autograph. I’ve always believed Bruce Wayne to be one of the most famous people in Gotham City. That scene at the BatBurger threw me out of the story a bit as a result. On with the breakdown!
Batman #16 is funnier than the average issue on King’s Batman run. Not to say that there is no humor to be found, but the tone of the first 15 issues has been fast and serious. This issue started very humorous which had the function of slowing the story’s pace. This way of telling the story comes to an abrupt end at the close of the issue. In light of the dark ending, I saw the comic relief as a calm before the storm. If the ending of this issue is any indication, this is going to be a dark and heavy storm.
I really enjoy that these mini-arcs are tying in to something much bigger, and tell one greater story. The smaller arcs stand on their own, while at the same time shedding light on part of a much bigger, integrated story. They are almost episodic in a way and it makes it a bit easier for new readers to jump in at any time and start reading the run. All the threads from the previous storylines are starting to come together to build on each other. This will hopefully make the ending of this arc a satisfying finale for the entire story.
The one constant thread throughout King’s run is Gotham Girl. She is the one who ties it all together, and perhaps the end result of these arcs will hinge on what happens to her.
The only problem I had with this issue, is that it left unanswered questions from the previous installment regarding Batman, Catwoman, and Holly Robinson. I hope this is not a dead end that is not resolved in the end. Tom King is a great story teller, so i’m not worried, but I did want to know if Catwoman was able to catch Holly. I hope we get that answer soon.
Batman #16 started off light and humorous but ended up with a much darker and more serious tone. It looks as though the I am Bane story arc will bring an end to the story that has been building over the past 3 to 4 story arcs. Batman #16 starts off slow but ends with a bang. For the most part, I have enjoyed Tom King’s take on the characters and I can’t wait to see where he goes next.
Did you see that shocking ending coming?
Would you eat at a BatBurger?
What do you think happens next?
Abel Loza is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @St_Abel45