Batman #83, published by DC Comics, is written by Tom King, with art by Mikel Janin, colors by Jordie Bellaire, and letters by Clayton Cowles. The City of Bane’ arc nears its conclusion, as Batman discovers a deadly truth and begins his showdown with his father, Thomas Wayne.
After Batman managed to finally best his nemesis Bane after a round of hand-to-hand combat in the last issue, Batman #83 picks up after the cliffhanger-like ending in which Thomas Wayne seemingly ended Bane and knocked his son unconscious. This issue deals with the aftermath of those events, helping to answer one of the major questions that had plagued readers throughout the arc and proving that Bane is not the main enemy of this arc.
Although the last issue had a slower pace for a series reaching its conclusion, its inclusion here is welcomed. Batman wakes up in his home, finding Alfred unconscious and unresponsive while narration from the devoted butler is played in the background. Alfred’s narration provides a few things, namely an understanding of Bruce’s mind and also a deeper look into their familial relationship. Much like the recent annual, also written by King, the writing is solid and is embued with pure love and emotion.
While the arc is called “City of Bane,” maybe to its detriment, it’s clear that the key villain for this arc is Thomas Wayne and the core theme is actually about family. King dives into this theme through Alfred’s speech, reciting the poem The Children’s Hour which focuses on the love of a father for his children. If anything, this issue is about Bruce’s two fathers and the differing ways in which they show that love. For Alfred, it’s about looking after his son no matter what, always by his side despite the dangers of his crusade. There’s a great piece of dialogue in which Alfred mentions that Bruce was not sullen but “cautious, like your mother.” King’s Alfred reminds the reader that Bruce isn’t just this damaged individual and he’s a human who loves – otherwise, why would he do what he does every night?
Thomas Wayne’s way of showing love towards Bruce is far more brutal however, as shown by his actions throughout the arc. Does Thomas love Bruce? Yes, but this isn’t the same father that died in Crime Alley, it’s one who had to endure his child’s murder. So it’s no wonder why this alternate version of Thomas would want to keep his son safe, no matter the cost – albeit in a twisted way.
Janin continues to provide art this issue and does a fantastic job of providing emotion to Bruce while wearing the cowl. It’s the perfect complement to King’s theme during this issue. With most of the issue taking place in one room, Janin makes excellent use of the space he’s given to depict motion and movement.
Bellaire returns on color duty and makes excellent use of them in this issue. As Bruce is stuck in one specific location for most of the book, we see that depicted with various darker colors and blue tones. When both Bruce and the reader are aware of all the answers in the arc, the colors begin to brighten up and illuminate from out of the dark. Cowels adds some fantastic lettering, which combined with Janin’s art helps depict motion throughout the story. Overall, King utilizes his strengths by focusing on the theme of fatherhood in this moving issue of Batman.
Batman #83 is available now wherever comics are sold.
King utilizes his strengths by focusing on the theme of fatherhood in this moving issue of Batman.