Batman #85 review

And just like that, we are done with Tom King’s Batman. Hold on to your butts, ‘cause this is an oversized review for an oversized issue, and this review is full of gif goodness!

Many of us have been waiting for this day to come for months – perhaps even years – and now, it’s finally here. In retrospect, has my opinion changed? Am I now somewhat a little sad that King will no longer write the caped crusader? Did I discover that I’ve really just been on a bandwagon that I didn’t agree with?… No. The answer to all of this is no. I despise Tom King’s Batman. Too many aspects of this run have been garbage, and this final chapter doesn’t really deliver anything fresh, original, or unexpected to warrant me to change my mind.

So, what do we get with this final issue? We do, in fact, get answers. We don’t necessarily get answers for everything, nor do we get satisfying answers, but hey… At least we get answers. Right? Right? No?

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No. Ok… Well… I guess the best way to approach this is by covering the individual plots that are addressed. So, first up…

Batman vs Flashpoint Batman

This issue promised an epic, final showdown between Batman and Thomas, but the reality is that there’s nothing epic about it. In fact, it’s all pretty predictable. Bruce and Thomas fight. Thomas gets the upper hand. Catwoman has to swoop in to save Bruce. Are we surprised? No! This has been King’s schtick for the entire run. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Selina giving an assist, but King has painted Batman as being completely incapable without Catwoman. It’s bullshit. And I stan Bruce and Selina, but come on!

There is a small, violent exchange between Bruce and Thomas that’s actually good – especially visually – but the scene carries no weight or impact because of how King structures his script. In an attempt to be artsy, King jumps between the final battle and various scenes that provide conclusions to specific story/ character arcs. In theory, this could’ve worked, but you kind of lose momentum when you reveal how a character’s arc will end before the final, climactic battle ever gets going.

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Tom King’s Batman, ladies and gentlemen.

Thomas Wayne

Speaking of Thomas, he’s still on his, “All I want to do is protect you!” kick. This is supposed to explain why Thomas has done everything that he has to Bruce throughout the course of the run, but hurting your son to prevent him from being hurt makes no sense. Plus, you know, he’s so OP that he’s beaten Batman more than once, as well as the entire Bat-family, but now a single kick to the back by Catwoman completely turns the tides against him and forces him to inevitably lose.

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I don’t know whether I should be upset, or just yell, “Finally! He finally got Thomas Wayne’s skillset right!”

The truly disappointing aspect of Thomas is what we were robbed of though. King has destroyed Thomas Wayne as a character. He is now an evil, irredeemable character, when he should’ve served as the closest thing to Bruce’s birth father that Bruce would ever have. In this issue, Bruce confesses that he often asks his dead parents if they’re proud of him. He should’ve been able to get some sort of resolve to that question by having Thomas in the picture. We should have had arcs of Bruce and Thomas working together, with Thomas eventually convincing Bruce, even if temporarily, to let him take the burden of Batman so his son can be happy.

But no. Instead, we’re stuck with this psychopath that is anything but the father we all wanted him to be… And not because Thomas is damaged due of everything he endured on Earth 2, but because Tom King decided to take a massive dump on any context or groundwork that has been done for the character leading up to this. When you’re writing in a medium such as comics, you need to respect the work that has come before you, and Tom King doesn’t do that – or, at least, he doesn’t do that here.

What I was curious to see though, was how King would wrap up Thomas’ arc. I knew he would lose, but there had to be more than loss. I feared Bruce would kill Thomas – it seemed like one of those stupid ideas King would run with for the sake of shock value – so, I’m happy to see that isn’t the case. Instead, Thomas is in Arkham, and his journey (for now anyway) ends with this:



Yeah, so…

About that…

It’s stupid. And Bane’s dialogue is horrendous.

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Tom King’s Batman, ladies and gentlemen.

City of Bane

And speaking of Bane, how about “City of Bane,” huh? That was… Uh… That story didn’t really have much Bane in it, did it? Nor did we really get any conclusion to that story itself. I mean, what’s going on with the city right now? Are we really supposed to believe Psycho Pirate only controlled the rogues and nobody else? Are we really going to present the “City of Bane” Gotham as a modern-day No Man’s Land that’s haunted not only the city, but impacted the entire country as well? Are we going to just completely ignore any type of conclusion or consequences? Yeah, we are.

And not only that, but what’s the point of Psycho Pirate in all of this? He’s nothing more than a plot device. I was hoping he would actually be the villain behind everything, and that it would turn out that he was controlling everyone – including Bane and Thomas – but that was just wishful thinking. Instead, he just sits in the background like a mannequin.

You know who else is a plot device? Wesker! His entire inclusion in King’s run was just so he could play the role that he plays in this issue – an inside man that can only ever really be controlled by Scarface. Which now begs the question, if this is the case, then why didn’t Batman exploit this weakness earlier? I’ll tell you why. Tom King doesn’t take the time to work his stories. He just throws out ideas, tries to retroactively explain them, and then runs with whatever he wants to do.

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Tom King’s Batman, ladies and gentlemen.

Batman and Catwoman

That’s ok, though. At least we’ve got Bruce and Selina back together! That’s a plus, especially if you were devasted by how King/ DC dealt with Batman #50. I mean, they’re bound to get married by the end of this issue to make up for that whole debacle, right? King’s been setting up the idea that everything is being corrected, so… What’s that?… There’s no wedding?… Did you just say that Bruce and Selina agree to get married, but then they forget? I’m, sorry… Um, how, exactly, does one forget to get married?… Oh, ok. They have so much sex that they actually forget to get married.

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But, hey! Don’t sweat it. They still love each other and commit to being with each other. They’ll last… You know, until the next writer decides to come along and breaks them up, or pretends like none of this ever happened. See, this is what’s really disappointing about taking this route. Undoing all of this will be too simple. Perhaps, if DC had actually gone through with a wedding, Batman and Catwoman would’ve been forced to try to not let themselves get pulled apart. Yet again, I feel as though we’re being cheated of something that could have been good, fresh, and unique. Now I’m just waiting for Batman and Catwoman to split following King’s Batman/ Catwoman.

Gotham Girl

Enough about Selina. Let’s talk about Gotham Girl. Before I jump into this, I want to say that I actually enjoyed Gotham Girl as a character… until she became a convoluted mess after Batman #50. At the moment, she’s completely powerless, but apparently didn’t die from using her powers. Let’s not ask questions of how that’s possible, I really want all of this to end so I can move on. However, if you’re a fan of Gotham Girl and are afraid you’ll never see her again, then fear not, because Batman gives her platinum kryptonite!

“What’s platinum kryptonite?” I’m glad you asked! Platinum kryptonite is a type of kryptonite that grants Superman-like powers to the person who has it. How’s that for a plot device? Now, now, before you start losing your mind about Tom King just making crap up, platinum kryptonite exited prior to this issue… Mainly because Tom King made it up a year ago.

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Tom King’s Batman, ladies and gentlemen.

Kite Man

The one, positive, legacy that Tom King will undoubtedly walk away with concerning his Batman run is Kite Man. I have no problem admitting that I love with King did with Kite Man, and in a number of ways, I really enjoyed the exchange Bruce and Chuck have here. One could question why Bruce would choose to sit and watch sports with Kite Man, but there are justifiable reasons that could be explained. The win here is that it leaves Kite Man open for a number of possibilities in the future, and that could be exciting.

The Art

As always, the art is fantastic. Tom King is incredibly lucky and blessed that he had the artists he’s had, otherwise his run would’ve been even worse. Mikel Janin really did everything in his power to try and make this an engaging read, I just think that too many people checked out months ago. Someone of Janin’s talent deserves to be on a book with coherent scripts though, so let’s hope DC is kind to him in the future.

Recommended if:

  • Hell, if you’ve read this far, you might as well finish.


The final issue of Tom King’s Batman is predictably boring and unsatisfying… Even with low expectations, this is still unsatisfying because much like King’s run, he doesn’t really accomplish anything. And what King’s legacy on Batman will be: a convoluted book with retroactive explanations that fail to add up or hold much water.

Oh, hell… One more for good measure to capture my thoughts on the entire run.

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SCORE: 3/10