Batman #77 is published by DC Comics, written by Tom King, penciled by Mikel Janin and Tony S Daniel, inked by Janin, Daniel and Norm Rapmund, colored by Jordie Bellaire and Tomeu Morey, with letters by Clayton Cowles. In this issue, we continue the ‘City of Bane’ arc in which sees Gotham under the tyrannical rule of Bane, as Batman recuperates in Paris with Catwoman.
Much like the previous two issues of the ‘City of Bane’ arc, the story has three focuses. We see the current state of Gotham City under Bane’s rule as members of Batman’s rogues’ gallery enact their special brand of justice. It was interesting to see Scarecrow, last seen running away from these forces, now fully part of the fold under Pscyho Pirate’s influence. While Scarecrow is quite clearly a criminal and regularly commits crimes of his own free will, there’s still something extremely pervasive about the mind control element to this story. It adds another layer of evil to the whole ordeal.
King does a great job at setting out this issue like a movie, in fact, this story has familiar beats to ‘The Dark Knight Rises,‘ in which Bane has physically and mentally bested Bruce Wayne and allowed the city to be controlled by criminals. Both in the film and this issue, it’s up to both Bruce Wayne and Catwoman to save the day, after some recuperation for the former.
Meanwhile, Robin infiltrates Gotham so he can take back his father’s city and stop the new dynamic duo consisting of Flashpoint Batman, aka Thomas Wayne, and Gotham Girl. Damian takes on this mission by himself, despite Bane’s threat, in which he would kill Alfred if anyone were to enter Gotham.
Sometimes King’s proclivity for these stories means that the issues can be slow-paced and cut down the arc in general, but in this case, it feels as though the reader is firmly at the third act of this story and action definitely kicks off. King particularly shines with his dialogue given to Damian Wayne, whose storyline takes up the final focus for this issue. In particular, there is a meeting between the current Robin and another character in this arc which Damian’s characterization is absolutely spot on.
The artwork is sublime, with both Janin and Daniel’s art sells King’s cinematic vision for this storyline, especially during the fight sequences with Damian which show off the character’s cockiness, athleticism, and movement. The colors also help to bring this book to life by helping to distinguish from the muted, earthy tones of Paris and the bolder, brighter palette that makes up Gotham City. Overall, it feels like each member of the team helps to push the others to produce their best work culminating in a very engaging visual.
Batman #77 is a shot of Venom to the arm for the main Bat-Title, providing us with a fast-paced and engaging story that delivers one of the best Damian Wayne moments in DC Canon. The only major let-down is a story development towards the end of the book which doesn’t quite land the way it should.
Batman #77 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Batman #77 is a shot of Venom to the arm for the main Bat-Title, providing us with a fast-paced and engaging story.