Alone – “Batman” #12 (Review)
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin and Hugo Petrus
After an extended break to make room for the Batman Annual last week, King’s mainline series is back. A huge cliffhanger left us dangling like the Dark Knight from a gargoyle, and though issue #12 does little to advance the plot in tangible ways, it goes to great lengths painting a better picture of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship, which will be a joy to read for anyone who enjoys that long lived story thread.
There’s been more than one issue under King’s penmanship that has carried a special poetry with it, and this latest issue is another great example. Foregoing almost all dialogue, the author instead juxtaposes the violence on each page with a narration that speaks an entirely different language. It’s no trick of King’s exclusively, but he employs it well. In fact, this might be his best use of the technique so far. Bruce’s wordy and emotional letter to Selina dictates the story for these 20 pages, and the art that accompanies it is again excellent from Mikel Janin.
In their offsetting juxtaposition, these two halves of the issue deliver effective irony. On one hand, we read as Bruce relates to Selina. He believes they understand each other and they’re working toward something wholly good. On the other hand, she seemingly betrayed him in issue #11 and that’s why he spends every page of the latest issue fighting for his life.
Did Selina really turn on him? You still won’t be able to say after this issue is over, as where we finish is only a few moments after where the last issue finishes. This issue is great because of that fact, as surprising as that might sound. It moves the current story almost not at all, but delivers some great characterization from King as he navigates Bruce and Selina’s relationship for the first time in his Bat-career. After a rough first half of 2016, the new scribe has found a great rhythm with the last few issues and I look forward to more in a few weeks.