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Review – Batman #69 (DC Comics)

Batman #69 (DC Comics) variant cover(detail) by Francesco Mattina
The Knightmare Continues in Batman #69
Overall
7.1/10
7.1/10
  • Writing - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Art - 8/10
    8/10
  • Overall - 6.8/10
    6.8/10
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Batman #69

Writer: Tom King
Art: Yanick Paquette
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Alternate Cover: Franceso Mattina
Editor: James S. Rich
Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Publisher: DC Comics
Maturity Rating: T
Release Date: April 17th, 2019

The Knightmare continues in Batman #69. Batman has been poisoned by the Scarecrow. If the Dark Knight hopes to escape he’ll have to come to terms with his greatest fear – the truth. 

 

The Knightmare Continues in Batman #69

 

Batman is asleep. Not in some metaphorical way, quite literally Batman is asleep and has been for the past four months. It’s been issue after issue of esoteric storylines, metaphysical allusions, and little to no explanation as to what the hell is actually going on. In Batman #69 Tom King is once again subjecting readers to the Caped Crusader’s haunted dreams, which begs the question – just when is Batman going to wake up? 

Writing:

Batman #69 (DC Comics) main cover by Yanick Paquette
Batman #69 (DC Comics) main cover by Yanick Paquette

Last month’s chapter ended with a full-page splash showing the Dark Knight strapped to some type of strange machine, his face contorted in a violent scream. In Batman #69 Tom King is finally offering some insight as to what may have put him there in the first place; simultaneously shedding some much-needed light on this whole tired storyline.

As Bruce Wayne dances with Selina Kyle, he explains to her that the last thing he remembers is being confronted by his father in the Batcave. Furthermore, he goes on to say that he recognizes this current state of mind; some type of induced dream state triggered by the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. The two continue to dance through the memories of their past, literally and figuratively, until Bruce reveals that the only way to escape is for him to overload his adrenal glands. In order to do that, he must confront his worst fear; the truth. 

“I feel so lonely, just for you only…”

While at first glance this may appear to be just another bottle-neck issue, there’s actually quite a lot going on in Batman #69. First, notice the lyrics that adorn the layout of the issue. They belong to 1920s singer/actress Sophie Tucker; her song titled “Some of These Days”. More important than the subject matter of the angst-ridden affirmation of unrequited love, is the fact that this is the second time King has used the track. The first was all the way back in Batman Annual #2

King’s sophomore annual tells the story of how Batman and Catwoman first meet. The fact that the song now plays as the two take their symbolic first/final dance as a married couple, is an admittedly impressive way of bringing things full circle. It would seem all but certain that this marks the conclusion of King’s admirable exploration into the emotional fabric of Batman’s ethos. 

Art:

In Batman #69 Yanick Paquette is a dream weaver. He eloquently leads readers on a historical waltz through the ages, highlighting the different interpretations and variations that Batman and Catwoman have crafted over the years (yet another nod to Batman Annual #2). Not only is the layout bold and impressive, but Paquette’s rendering of Selina Kyle is flat out gorgeous. The femme fatale has never looked more alluring. 

Paquette’s pages, like King, are also ripe with symbolism. For example, the final embrace of Bruce and Selina. They slowly begin to drift apart and try as he might, Bruce can’t stop her from leaving. Selina’s then quickly enveloped into a colony of bats, vanishing from sight entirely and leaving Bruce alone in the dark. As if to say “this is where you belong. You’ll never escape Batman.”

Conclusion:

Do heroes hurt? It’s a question Tom King has been trying to answer through the vessel of Batman. I haven’t always enjoyed the ride but I do have respect for the process. That time is over now. No more introspection, no more Bat/Cat cringe-worthy rhyme innuendos. It’s time to ramp things up again, to take Batman back to his roots. Maybe even, oh I don’t know, have the World’s Greatest Detective actually detect something for a change? Maybe figure out once and for all what’s at stake between Bane and his father? Just no more naked Bane wrestling, please?


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