Batman Vol. 2: I Am Suicide Review

By
Comic Books:
Eric Joseph

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On April 18, 2017
Last modified:April 16, 2017

Summary:

It's doubtful that I am Suicide will be the best Batman story you read this year, but at least it's superior to the volume that preceded it.

Batman Vol. 2: I Am Suicide Review

This review is based off a volume that collects Batman #9-15.

Although Tom King’s current run on Batman hasn’t been entirely bulletproof, one reason that it’s probably been scrutinized more than other titles is that he was faced with the unenviable task of following Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, who delivered what was arguably one of the greatest and most definitive eras to make up the Dark Knight’s 78-year history.

In addition to that, Rebirth has given way to some of the best stories involving the likes of Superman, the Flash and Green Arrow this decade has seen, so a benchmark has been set for DC’s entire publishing line. In other words, despite Batman being one of the most recognizable characters in all of pop culture, his laurels really can’t be rested upon.

With that, I’ll fully admit that I was unsatisfied with King’s opening arc, I am Gotham, but his second effort, I am Suicide, is “getting warmer.” Oh, it’s not perfect by any means, but I feel the author is starting to hit his stride with this character and has proven he can strike gold with what’ll be collected into the next volume, I am Bane, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Switching gears to artwork, it should be noted that David Finch is out for this particular volume and Mikel Janin is in. Although Janin’s style is markedly different from that of his colleague’s, it’s undeniably unique and brings a sense of realism to the material, along with putting on a clinic in dynamic visual storytelling. Mitch Gerads also contributed, but we’ll discuss him further a little later.

Basically, the premise of this book is that Batman assembles a Suicide Squad of his own – Catwoman, Bronze Tiger, Ventriloquist, Punch and Jewelee – with the intention of storming Santa Prisca and absconding with Psycho-Pirate, whom the Caped Crusader intends to reverse Gotham Girl’s current condition. Rest assured that each character is selected for a specific purpose because, let’s be honest, you need all the help you can get when trying to take down Bane on his own soil.

As for Bane himself, well, I was very tempted to henceforth refer to him as “Nude Bane” because he doesn’t wear a single article of clothing for the duration of this book. It’s baffling, yes. I’m well aware that it probably gets hot down in Santa Prisca, but, sir, put on at least a pair of shorts when you’re expecting company, okay?

You know, the chapter in which Batman infiltrates the island nation in advance of his troops is actually a fair encapsulation of how this collected edition is a mixed bag. Really, you get to see how “quit” just isn’t in Bruce Wayne’s vocabulary as his superior intellectual and physical resolve are on full display, complemented by some powerful narration courtesy of Catwoman. But, remaining on the subject of vocabulary, the titular hero’s comes off as being extremely limited at times when he repeats the same damn phrases over and over again. I’m not joking, he sounds like a toy that can say a select handful of lines when you press a button on his back.

As the story unfolds, rest assured that there are several twists and turns that’ll keep readers on the edge their seats, in addition to the sensitive subject of suicide being dealt with head on and being intertwined with the enduring mythos. And while some of you out there will likely see the opening salvo in Batman and Bane’s latest war as the main selling point, for me, the Batman-Catwoman dynamic is the heart of the book. Their complicated relationship has gripped me for most of my life, and to see it explored from both perspectives while being seamlessly interwoven into the main narrative made my day.

To my delight, a two-parter, “Rooftops,” concludes this collection and it’s all about those two. Brought to life in highly cinematic fashion by the earlier mentioned Gerads, it follows Bruce and Selina as they punch their way through Gotham’s D-listers before engaging in romantic congress under the night sky. Well, that’s the first half, at least, which is easily the stronger of the two.

It’s the second half, however, that experiences a few hiccups. While it was cool to see Gerads pay homage to Batman and Catwoman’s shared past, and to provide closure pertaining to the latter’s murder charge, it just didn’t stick the landing. I may not have despised it in the way that my esteemed colleague did, but it’s very off-putting to see Batman let his guard down enough to have his throat slit by a teenaged girl. Come on, this is the guy who just took down Bane and dozens of mercenaries, for crying out loud.

So, even if you don’t end up digging Batman Vol. 2: I am Suicide – and I can certainly understand why you may not – I urge you to stick around for the next volume because business really will pick up. Still, the stuff involving Catwoman may be reason enough to give this a try.

Batman Vol. 2: I am Suicide
Fair

It's doubtful that I am Suicide will be the best Batman story you read this year, but at least it's superior to the volume that preceded it.