Review: BATMAN #73 May Forever Change Batman’s Motivation

FIRST IMPRESSION

Tom King said he wanted to change Batman for years, or possibly forever. If that's the case, he may achieve his goal. BATMAN #73 promises to remove that which makes Batman what he is. This decision will probably polarize fans, though I'm at least interested to see what King has in store.
Writing
Dialogue
Pencils/Inks
Coloring
Lettering
- Advertisement -

Following Bruce’s encounter with Bane in our last issue, Batman #73 sees the two Batmen roaming the desert, cowboy-style. Thomas’s ultimate goal, his reason for working alongside Bane, is simply to get Bruce out of the super game. How he plans to do it, though, is the matter at hand. The shock reveal in the issue’s last pages seems to pull it together.

The Writing

Tom King’s writing on Batman is marked by obscured, seemingly surreal sequences that eventually come into focus after the fact. He lets the mood foment as events occur, then applies context to give the narrative shape. Batman #73 is no exception to this approach.

We open with an unconscious Bruce Wayne being driven through the desert on horseback by his father. The horse drags a coffin behind it, and all the while, we have Thomas Wayne ceaselessly delivering the lines to the folk tune Home on the Range. The book seems fairly inscrutable for its first two-thirds, but snaps into focus with information revealed toward the book’s end.

Thomas’s use of the song seems to harken to a desire for escape and simplicity. He wants a kind of return to innocence, the significance of which becomes clear with the reveal in the last three pages.

- Advertisement -

It’s hard to issue a solid verdict here. The writing is strong and consistent, based on the approach laid out above. That said, Batman #73 will likely be a polarizing issue among longtime fans. The issue resolves some questions, such as key elements of Thomas Wayne’s motivation. But, for every issue resolved, more come about; namely, as it pertains to the book’s ending: “if this were always an option, why is it only coming up now?”

Tom King said what he’s doing with Batman is “going to change the character for a generation, or maybe more. Maybe forever.” If this issue is an indicator of where we’re headed, that’s entirely possible. We’re yet to see whether it will pay off.

Batman #73

Batman #73

The Artwork

Mikel Janin turns in another strong showing for Batman #73. The book’s first half is full of heavy silences and sparse dialogue, and Janin captures this well. We feel the space as Bruce and Thomas wander the desert. Dramatic shots of Thomas riding on horseback while dragging a coffin behind him pay homage to Django and other spaghetti westerns. It lends itself well to the ambiance and atmosphere of the issue.

The book splits its time between wide, painterly illustrations and tight, regularly-spaced, close-cropped panels. The work feels cohesive throughout, though, and flows nicely.

Jordie Belleaire bathes Janin’s illustrations in earthy tones. Reds, oranges, and browns are the dominant tones through most of Batman #73. Only occasionally does the artist break this scheme, opting for ethereal evening greens and lavender sunrises. It’s not always naturalistic, but rather a skilled impression of the time of day.

Final Thoughts

Batman #73 is likely to be another polarizing issue among fans. If Thomas is to be believed—and based on King’s statements, he is—these next issues could change Batman forever. I won’t give spoilers, but it threatens to essentially strip away Batman’s raison d’etre. We’ll have to wait and see what the consequences may be.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

A New Beginning in WONDER WOMAN COME BACK TO ME #1

Wonder Woman Come Back to Me #1 is a reprinting of a classic tale of Diana once again diving into danger to save those she loves.

Review: Frosty The Snowman Comes To Marvel In LOKI #1

A sentient (and possibly menacing) snowman is exactly the kind of wonderfully weird supporting character Loki needs

2019 Will Eisner Award Winners – The Complete List

The 2019 Will Eisner Awards were held last night at San Diego Comic-Con, and we have your complete list of winners below!

AfterShock Exclusive Preview: A WALK THROUGH HELL #12 – All Hell Breaks Loose

A Walk Through Hell #12 hits your local comic book shop on July 24, but thanks to AfterShock Comics, Monkeys Fighting Robots has a...

Review: SONATA #2: Cool Creature Designs Carry Another Solid Issue

Sonata #2 follows a stellar debut with a not as sensational second entry. All of the items fans adored with the first issue, stellar...

Review: GIDEON FALLS #15 Andrea Sorrentino’s Art Will Give You Nightmares

Gideon Fall #15 from Image Comics hits your local comic book store today; written by Jeff Lemire, with art by Andrea Sorrentino, colors by...

Review: SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #1 is a weird yet intriguing start to the series

The Life and Times of Jimmy Olsen! Almost every comic book character has a human sidekick. Batman has Alfred, Wonder Woman has Etta Candy, and...

Review: The City of Bane Begins in BATMAN #75

At long last, we reach the third act of a story that’s three years in the making with Batman #75. Kicking off the City...
Avatar
David DeCorte
David DeCorte covers comic book, entertainment, pop culture, and business news for multiple outlets. He is also a sci-fi writer, and is currently working on his first full-length book. Originally from San Diego, he now lives in Tampa.
COMIC REVIEW DIGEST, sign up today! At Monkeys Fighting Robots, we strive to talk about ALL aspects of a comic book, instead of just giving you a recap of the story.
  • Did you notice how epic the colors were?
  • That was a wicked panel layout by the artist!
  • What was the letterer thinking?
  • How did this comic book make you feel?
  • Most importantly, should you buy it?

Every Wednesday you will receive an email with our latest reviews and analyses, as well as our original comic strips and exclusive editorial content.
Thanks for signing up!