Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin
Batman #13 comes just in time for Christmas and delivers a great present to readers in the form of another outstanding 20 pages from Tom King and company. The shaky start to his tenure as author is now a distant memory in comparison to the “I Am Suicide” arc. It’s unclear if issue #13 wraps up that arc but it certainly feels that way. In either event, King has me really excited to see where it all goes next.
Though the plot of this issue goes down a route I saw coming about two months ago, it was all strangely no less satisfying to see it unfold. I always appreciate the Batman authors who remember to paint the hero as not just an elite combatant but also, maybe without any exceptions, the smartest person in the room. His hand-picking of his Suicide Squad comes into crystal clear focus in #13. Like a championship chess player, Batman is always several steps ahead of the competition.
There are some downright bizarre moments in this issue. The scenes involving Punch and Jewlee stand out as chiefly weird, but I’m learning that’s to be expected from these two whom, previously, I wasn’t all that familiar with. The sort of antics they get up to in Batman #13 are normally the type of thing that has me scoffing, but because of how it all fit into Batman’s master plan, I actually loved it. The Ventriloquist also shines in this issue, fulfilling a portion of the mission only he could accomplish.
The entire arc has felt like a Rube Goldberg machine. We’ve watched Batman put all the pieces in place for the past few months of releases. Issue #13 is as satisfying as sending a ball in motion through such a contraption. You see everything perform its specific task, timed precisely, and it’s a joy to see all facets of the machine cooperate and work as one unit by the time the panels have come to an end. We haven’t seen the last of these villains, and that’s an exciting cliffhanger too, but for now, Batman #13 reminds all readers that he can’t be outmaneuvered by either brawn or brains.