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Batman #9, the newest issue of the Batman: Rebirth title is the start of the new story line “I am Suicide.” Author Tom King and penciler Mikel Janin give us a look inside Arkham Asylum and shows us the ends Batman would go to help one of his own in the sophomore arc for Tom King. Our Abel Loza breaks down the Dark Knight’s newest adventure.
Review: Batman #9
The I Am Suicide story arc sets up an amazing premise, “Who would batman pick for his own personal Suicide Squad?” The end goal for Batman and his Suicide Squad is to get to Bane, which marks the long awaited return of Bane to the Batman. Tom King does a good job of not only reintroducing old characters, but new characters into his batman stories. This idea of Batman working with a Suicide Squad had been hinted at during the earlier arc, but now that that idea is coming to a realization, we have the real possibility that this arc will be one that will go down in Batman history.
The arc starts off with Bane telling Psycho-Pirate about how as a child he would spend the first 17 years in a cell, and how every day he had to fight for his life as the rising tide would enter his cell and he had to swim to the top to stay alive. Bane is using Psycho-Pirate help him cope with his struggles by helping him mask what he really feels, by having Psycho-Pirate control his emotions. Bane asks Psycho-Pirate to, “Tell me I’m happy. Tell me I’m brave. Tell me I can always stop.”
Bruce Wayne is still trying to help Claire (Gotham Girl) cope with the events from I am Gotham and Night of the Monster Men and knows that Claire will only get worse if he doesn’t get Psycho-Pirate to reverse what he did to her. Bruce needed to get Psycho-Pirate so he can stop Claire’s nightmares. Bruce then lets Alfred know that he expects Alfred and/or Duke to stay at Claire’s side while he was away, because Bruce has accepted Amanda Waller’s offer to join her to penetrate Santa Prisca with a Suicide Squad.
After Batman leaves Wayne Manner, he meets up with Jim Gordon and visits Arkham Asylum to pick and assembly his own personal Suicide Squad. Some of the inmates he visits include: Arnold Weskler, the original Ventriloquist, Calendar man, Kite Man, Jane Doe, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and Ben Turner AKA the Bronze Tiger.
While Batman is talking to Jewlee (a new character that is introduced), he turns around and punches, who we think is, Jim Gordon. Gordon turns out to be Punch (another new character), who had drugged and tied up the real commissioner and took his place. One cannot fool Batman that easily. Punch’s reason for impersonating was to release Jewlee, who Punch is romantically involved with. Batman is able to look past this, and try to recruit Punch to his team. Punch was one of a few people to have ever to break out of Santa Prisca (!!!).
Batman then asks to visit his last recruit, which is met with heavy criticism. His final recruit is Selina Kyle, who is on death row for two hundred and thirty-seven counts of murder. Catwoman seems to be his final and most important member of Batman’s Suicide Squad.
Putting a little bit of a twist to the Bane origin story, it seems as though Tom King has made Bane look much more methodical, like the one that is represented in The Dark Knight Rises. There seems to be an emphasis on Bane’s formative years, and I think this is in comparison to Batman’s own troubled childhood. This compare and contrast, I think, will play a part in how Batman and Bane will confront their final battle in this story arc. Bane has personally always been one of my favorite villains in Batman’s rogue gallery, and I’m glad that King has made him the main protagonist in this Batman arch. Although the Joker is an amazing, and arguably the best Batman villain, it is nice when we get to explore the rest of the villains in the Batman universe.
This idea that Batman chooses his own Suicide Squad is not only original but also very intriguing. For almost the entire history of the Suicide Squad, Batman has always been against Task Force-X. That sentiment has even made its way to the big screen. In the Suicide Squad mid-credit scene, Bruce Wayne tells Amanda Waller, “… Shut it down or my friends and ill shit it down for you.” But when in order to get past the impenetrable prison on Santa Prisca and get to Bane, Batman will need all the help he can get, even if that helps comes from the Suicide Squad.
Speaking of the Suicide Squad, I love that they are using characters that are not the “A team” and are using characters that need some love. I don’t know if that is to keep the main Suicide Squad separate with this one to keep separate story lines or if Tom King genuinely wanted to shine the spotlight on some rarely used characters, but whatever the reason, I’m really enjoying it so far. This is why we also get get a couple of new characters in Jewlee and Punch, who seem to be big players in this new arc.
I know many have been asking since the DC universe was rebooted, “When are we going to see the Watchmen going to show up in this new universe?” We may have our answer sooner rather than later. According to a Tom King interview, Psycho-Pirate might hold the key to uniting the current DC universe with the Watchmen universe, which was hinted at during DC: Rebirth. If this turns out to be true, this current story arc could play a big part in the rest of the DC universe, and i’m really excited to see how that plays out.
Just like we saw in the first arc, King is doing some fan service by paying homage to some classic Batman stories. In this issue, for example, the panels where Batman talks to Catwoman are very similar to those when Batman talk to the Joker (or he he thinks is the Joker) in the amazing novel, The Killing Joke. We first saw this sort of tribute to old Batman stories in the first arc of King’s run. I’m a sucker for fan service, so if King continues to do so, i will continue to enjoy those subtle admiration for old, but essential titles.
Overall, I’m really excited to see where this new arc takes us!
Abel Loza is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @st abel45
Source: DC Comics
This issue is simple, but does a fairly good job of laying the out premise for the upcoming arc. Although it is a simple premise, it does not make it any less exciting. Really looking forward to seeing where this story ends up.