Batman #80, published by DC Comics, is written by Tom King, penciled by John Romita Jr., inked by Klaus Janson, colored by Tomeu Morey, and lettered by Clayton Cowles. The issue follows Batman and Catwoman as they return to reclaim their city from the Arkham inmates in the sixth part of the ‘City of Bane’ storyline.
After spending the previous two issues away from the core storyline as Bruce recuperated around the globe, the focus shifts back to Gotham City and its current occupation by the terrifying Bane. As we’ve seen before, Gotham is currently under the jurisdiction of multiple Arkham Inmates including Two-Face and Professor Pyg, acting as Gotham’s new police force. The issue starts off with Matches Malone, Bruce’s undercover persona, encountering both the Arkham fiends, before revealing himself as the ‘true’ Batman; and thus announcing his return to the whole of Gotham.
This introduction was such a brilliant way of stepping back into the story. I’ve already mentioned how King tends to have write storylines with an almost-cinematic approach which comes across here very well. The standalone story told throughout the last two issues was a break both for the main story and core character, with Bruce having to heal from both his physical and mental wounds. So when we see Bruce remove the ‘facade,’ that acted almost like a cocoon for him as he healed, it feels well earned and a triumph visually.
Triumphant is a great way to describe much of the issue actually, as Bruce and Selina manage to infiltrate their way through Gotham and plan to take back their city piece by piece. There’s something about seeing the rogues gallery still have fear in their eyes when Batman returns, despite the fact that there’s a deadlier version currently out patrolling the city.
Speaking of which, Thomas Wayne (aka Flashpoint Batman) is portrayed more sympathetically here as he cares for Gotham Girl (Claire Clover). We are able to delve a bit more into their dynamic. Both Thomas and Claire have been through traumatic experiences and don’t see themselves as villains. While this makes them extremely dangerous, there’s still a chance for them to do some good.
King does a great job of bringing the focus back to the core storyline after this brief interim. The dialogue is minimal but used appropriately, putting readers in the same mindset as the Rogues – not knowing what Batman’s plan is. This issue features industry legend Romita Jr. as he delivers some of his best work at DC yet.
His version of Gotham is a perfect choice for this story as we return to a place that we know, yet it is distorted. A different artist helps reflect that distortion. Once again, Morey’s colors perfectly complement Romita Jr.’s style, making the opening pages feel like a scene out of the Burton Bat-movies.
Accompanying Romita Jr. on this issue is the legendary Janson who inked the story and does a fantastic job of it too. Additionally, Cowels once again finds the perfect amount of room in his lettering, with fun details that help expand the reading experience. For example, using smaller font sizes for whispers and bold for loud exclamations.
Overall, Batman #80 is a fantastic issue that kickstarts the final phase of the City of Bane storyline, with art by Romita Jr. being the biggest highlight.
Batman #80 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Batman #80 is a fantastic issue that kickstarts the final phase of the City of Bane storyline, with art by Romita Jr. being the biggest highlight.