Batman #20 Review

comic books:
Sergio Pereira

Reviewed by:
On April 5, 2017
Last modified:April 4, 2017


Beastly! Tom King's Batman #20 is a fantastic conclusion to the truly excellent "I Am Bane" storyline.

Batman #20 Review


This review contains minor spoilers.

Whether you’re a fan of Tom King’s Batman or not, you have to respect one thing: it tries to be unique. No issue is similar, nor is there any certainty; for every left turn is quickly followed by a sharp right. The finale of “I Am Bane” is no different, as King explores what Batsy experiences when he’s outside of death’s door. The words on the pages are extremely poignant in contrast to the graphic battle between Bane and the Dark Knight. It’s a tug-on-the-heartstrings-with-a-punch-in-the-mouth kinda book, and that’s more than okay with me.

Make no mistake: Batman #20 spills blood. Lots of it. The majority of the issue involves Bane beating the living hell out of the Caped Crusader, while Bruce hears his mother recall the moments that led him here. Throughout the beating, the Santa Prisca monster keeps reminding us about who he is and the inevitable “I am Bane” roar. However, in sheer Michael Keaton-esque brilliance, the Dark Knight headbutts and knocks out his foe, while proudly declaring, “I’m Batman.” This image alone ensures that this issue will become an iconic one in DC Comics folklore and a future meme. After the beast is defeated, Bruce spends more time with his mother in his mind, revealing the true reasons for what he does. Martha tells him he doesn’t need a good death to make her proud of him because she already is.

Are your eyes still dry? Because mine aren’t. From action to a deep emotional journey, this issue has it all and King wraps up the arc in fine fashion. While it could’ve easily degenerated into another slugfest between the hero and villain, it contains so much more than that. This is an exploration into the psyche of Batman, looking at his hopes, fears, and motivations. It pulls back the cowl and shows us that behind the gruff and stoic façade is a man who wants to help others – a selfless hero. It’s a welcome reminder of why we all fell in love with this character to begin with. Batman might be the symbol to strike fear, but King has captured the soul of Bruce Wayne better than most others before him.

Much like the rest of the arc, artist David Finch waves magic onto these pages. Switching between memories and the current-day battle, he takes our breath away with scintillating touches of pulsating action and glorious recaps of issues past. There’s a lot of story and dialogue to cover here, but Finch handles it in such a way that isn’t overwhelming but compelling instead. Finch and King’s run is fast becoming as good as Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder’s, and I’m looking forward to their next scheduled team-up in Batman #23.

Overall, Batman #20 isn’t only a great issue; it’s also the book that concludes King’s first truly outstanding storyline. From beginning to end, “I Am Bane” contains some of the best writing of Rebirth to date, and a quintessential story about Batman and Bane. Welcome to the Batcave’s hall of fame, Tom King; you’ve earned it.

Batman #20 Review
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Beastly! Tom King's Batman #20 is a fantastic conclusion to the truly excellent "I Am Bane" storyline.

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