Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin
With a more appropriate artist at the helm, a focused and promising arc, and a branching monologue that ties the issue together in a brilliant way, Batman #10 is King’s best work with the Dark Knight yet. If you stuck through some very trying issues hoping like Harvey Dent that it’s always darkest before dawn, the dawn has come.
The Batman-led Suicide Squad was assembled in the last issue, though don’t expect to hear much from them so soon. This latest issue focuses almost exclusively on Batman as he works to not so subtly infiltrate Santa Prisca. During that time he rehearses to himself his stated mission as if Bane can hear it all. He’s here for Psycho-Pirate. He needs him to save Gotham Girl. Give him up or else. That’s essentially it, and what’s great about that is how he verbalizes his commitment for us to see. Many say Batman’s true “superpower”, if he had one, is an unbreakable will. That’s on full display in this issue. And the art really sells it, like when he swoops toward an otherwise crippling hail of gunfire.
The best part of the issue is the framing device that comes from its hand written letter narration. A letter from — who? That’ll become clear by the end — speaks to Batman and Bruce at once on a deeply personal level. Friend or foe? Nemesis or… lover? It hints at more character drama to come, and it’s a thread of which I never tire. After such a shaky start, it’s really rewarding to have the mainline Batman series back delivering a worthwhile plot. It’s just two issues, but this arc looks to be much better than King’s debut. It’s trimmed the fat, installed a new, better-fitting artist, and has finally introduced some worthwhile villain drama. King is undoing all of his early mistakes and giving Batfans something worth clinging to. Some major teases for issue #11 should have you reeling during the two week wait.