Batman #84, published by DC Comics, is written by Tom King, with art by Jorge Fornes, colors by Jordie Bellaire, and letters by Clayton Cowles. In this tenth installment of the ‘City of Bane’ arc, Thomas Wayne reflects on his past before readying to battle his son. After answering some unresolved questions in the last issue, Batman #84 continues that trend by finally explaining what happened to Thomas after Flashpoint and ‘The Button,’ arc as well as how he found himself trapped on Bruce’s Earth. Readers who were concerned about Thomas’ antagonistic attitudes in the book will definitely understand his POV after reading this issue.
The dynamic between Bruce and Thomas has always been the most interesting concept during the ‘City of Bane’ arc and it feels as though King himself feels the same. If last week’s issue was to explain how Alfred loved and would do anything for Bruce, this is the opposite side of the same coin. King explores why Thomas feels as though he needs to push himself down this dark path in order to help his son. Also, following in the steps of the most recent Batman annual, the story has a chaotic back and forth timeline when explaining Thomas’ past which acts as an interesting metaphor to his psyche.
Thomas Wayne is a complicated character. Readers can’t exactly judge this iteration of Bruce’s father by what we would expect of his normal loving father, particularly seeing the trauma that both he and Martha endured. Seeing the toll that his own existence takes on Thomas, it’s no wonder why he would desperately want to help Bruce from following in his own footsteps as Batman. There’s a moment where Thomas almost seems disappointed that he wasn’t wiped after Flashpoint which is particularly poignant. The issue also reveals that after finding out what happened to their son, the Flashpoint version of Martha (aka The Joker) took her own life, leading Thomas even more down a darker path.
As for why Thomas is in our Earth, it’s all thanks to the machinations of Eobard Thawne, whose last act of ‘kindness’ towards the man who killed him is to abandon him in the one place he would rather not be, our Batman’s reality, but Thomas’ version of hell. While not excusing his actions towards Bruce, Alfred, Damian, and many others, King does a great job of explaining how Thomas would view this as the gift of a ‘loving father.’
Fornes returns on the art front for one last time on this Batman run and as always knocks it out of the park. His timeless style towards Batman and other DC characters such as the Reverse-Flash are always visually appealing and much better than the generic ‘realism’ we too often see in comics nowadays. Fornes’ style which has Golden/Silver Age aspects as well as being reminiscent to Batman: Year One manages to fit in with the multiversal concepts and still feel fit in with some of the dark aspects of the story.
Bellaire once again is on color duty for this issue and does a fantastic job of making Fornes’ art pop out even more than usual. Bellaire also works in tandem with Cowels, which helps to make the lettering stand out in certain moments. For example, a small panel featuring a gunshot which is covered in red and features ‘BLAM’ in large font in the background. It’s simple but really helps bring King’s script to life. However, that being said there is a very big mistake in this issue on the coloring front. In one panel, a flashback to ‘The Button’ arc, we see Bruce and Eobard Thawne standing together on the cosmic treadmill…except this should be Barry Allen. It’s a simple mix-up between the Flash and Reverse Flash’s colors, but one that completely took me out of the story.
Overall, King does a fantastic job explaining Thomas Wayne’s psyche during this event and sets up the final conclusion to the ‘City of Bane’ arc.
Batman #84 is available now wherever comics are sold.
King does a fantastic job explaining Thomas Wayne’s psyche during Batman #84 and sets up the final conclusion to the ‘City of Bane’ arc.