After the segue provided in the previous issue, Batman #62 delves back into the broader narrative of King’s story.
Coming off the conclusion of their fantastic run on Mister Miracle last November, Tom King and Mitch Gerads reunite to provide a surreal, dark, and bloody entry. Here, Batman finds himself captured by Professor Pyg. Unable to understand how he got there, Bruce attempts to fight back delirium and crack the mystery. Bruce is not prepared, though, to learn who’s really behind the mask.
Batman #62 has almost no dialogue. Instead, the issue works almost entirely through Bruce’s inner monologue. Like King’s work on Mister Miracle, the issue reflects the deconstructive approach employed in that series.
King is giving us insight into Bruce’s deteriorating mental state. He’s not certain of what’s going on and how it relates to Bane’s takeover, and the fact that he doesn’t know is gnawing away at him, testing his grip on reality. This points to clear danger for Batman, and the threat that he may be pushed over the edge.
The lack of dialogue means Batman #62 tends to rely heavily on mood. There is palpable anxiety and dread throughout the book, with Bruce seamlessly moving back and forth between talking his way through the confrontation, while trying to crack the mystery behind it.
The storytelling is abstract and dreamlike, leaving much of it up to subjective interpretation. Where we’re headed, though, seems like pretty foreboding territory.
I don’t want to keep harping on the Mister Miracle connection. However, if you loved Gerads’ work on that series, you’ll find plenty to like in Batman #62 as well. The work possesses that same disorienting, psychedelic style. Like Bruce, the visuals make you question what is real, or whether you’re trapped in some kind of washed-out nightmare, which is a perfect aesthetic for a Professor Pyg story.
Of course, the colors play a role nearly as important as the line work. The washes of sickeningly-bright colors amid the splotches and visual glitches really help drive home the vision.
Despite Batman #62 being loose on narrative and almost devoid of dialogue, Gerads does a great job of laying out the sequence of the action. Nearly every page is divided neatly into three evenly-spaced, horizontal panels. The effect reflects the methodical, step-by-step mental process Bruce walks himself through, while also establishing an uneasy sense of symmetry amid the chaos in each panel.
Even the lettering by Clayton Cowles contributes to the spidery, creeping visuals.
Batman #62 is as unsettling as it is disorienting…in a good way. Even if you’re not picking up this biweekly series, this issue is one to grab (especially with that Frank Miller variant cover).