There are two installments remaining in Tom King’s “Knightmares” arc, a storyline that is quite the mixed bag. Candidly, in regard to BATMAN #67 and the rest of the arc, it has been challenging to review the run’s individual stories. Each issue has been seemingly ambiguous, appearing to not contribute much to the progress of the arc’s plot. The difficulty there of course is the awareness that there are still two issues remaining.

So, one cannot help but wonder how this story will read once the arc is totally complete. Perhaps those previous issues that were not initially well-received will make sense in the grand scheme of it all.

With this, each issue has been stylish and delves into Batman’s subconscious in a captivating manner. Additionally, the art of this arc has been superb, featuring the talents of those such as Jorge FornesDave StewartMikel Janin, & Jordie Bellaire.

Now, in regard to this particular issue, things are starting to truly come together in an unanticipated manner. Here is why.

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BATMAN 67 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Way Down We Go

BATMAN #67’s predecessor featured Catwoman taking the hot seat as she attempted to break down Bruce Wayne’s insatiable need to be Batman, contributing to an issue that seemed to begin making sense of this arc. BATMAN #67 builds on that clarity even more.

Ultimately, this arc has been difficult to assess perhaps because we have been interpreting it from the wrong angle. Perhaps we should consider that there is in fact no linear plot to develop. Perhaps this arc is not a journey of Batman’s escape from the nightmares that entrap him. Maybe we should consider that these nightmares are the experiences Batman has never taken the time to comprehend.

BATMAN #67 is not what anyone would expect it to be. There is little to no dialogue whatsoever and there does not even appear to be a plot.

Yet, this issue may give the most insight into the purpose of “Knightmares.”

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BATMAN #67 cover. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Beep. Beep.

To summarize the pithy narrative of the issue, Batman chases a masked individual, a chase that begins on a rooftop and ends in the depths of Gotham City’s underground. In the climax of the chase, Batman umasks the individual to reveal the face of the Joker.

Batman goes on to narrate:

“William Ernest Coyote. That was the name of the man. The dead man. On the roof. I asked him why. The murder. The chase. Why? He smiled. And he said, ‘Beep. Beep.'”

Sure, there are definitely not that many aspects to this issue. However, there is plenty to unpack. Firstly, the imagery of Batman descending from the rooftops of Gotham City into its deep waters represents the idea that Batman is drowning in the uncertainty of his subconscious. Additionally, the unexpected presence of the Joker signifies plenty.

It appears as though Batman is still attempting to make sense of the apathy Gotham’s criminals maintain in regard to the deplorable acts they commit. Despite Batman’s crime-fighting deeds, his acts have been unable to change the mentality of those criminals.

So, it is safe to consider that Batman may be experiencing a bit of an existential crisis as of now.  Thus, this arc exemplifies the limbo he is currently in. It is breaking down his attempts to reconcile the reasons why he became Batman in the first place and whether or not his career has truly changed a single thing about Gotham City and himself.

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BATMAN #67 variant cover. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of BATMAN #67

Artist Lee Weeks has shined in his recent work on BATMAN, most notably during “Cold Days”. So, it is refreshing to see Weeks’ return to the pages of BATMAN in conjunction with the impeccable work of Jorge Fornes. As aforementioned, this issue is not dependent on dialogue. Thus, the art is crucial to conveying the issue’s message, a message depicted through the way in which Weeks and Fornes portray Batman’s literal and psychological descent.

Perhaps the starkest piece of art in this entire issue is the absolutely terrifying reveal of the Joker’s face. It is unexpected and overwhelming, immediately striking fear.

All of these individual aspects contribute to the continuous surrealist nature of this arc as exemplified in the artwork. The final descent into Gotham City’s sewers definitely encompasses that surrealism as Batman and Joker get lost in the sewers’ depths.

The final panels depict the two merely remaining beneath the surface of the waters, exemplifying Batman’s current static, uncertain nature as an individual and as a hero.

Thus, in an issue with more than what initially appears on the surface, BATMAN #67’s artwork definitely pulls the story together as it perfectly sketches Batman’s chaotic subconscious.

What Lies Beyond

Upon initial reading, BATMAN #67 may not appear to give readers the answers they seek in regard to “Knightmares”. Though, after serious analysis, one may come to discover the clarity the issue actually provides.

Batman is lost. He has been for quite some time.

He is attempting to come to terms with the things he has done, the things that have been done to him, and the things that he has witnessed. Of course, all of these aspects intersect to form the crux of Batman.

At least they did.

Now, Batman can no longer make sense of any of those aspects.

Thus, his very identity is in shambles, attempting to reform itself in the midst of the chaos of his thoughts.

BATMAN #67 by Tom King, Lee Weeks, Jorge Fornes, Lovern Kindzierski, & Clayton Cowles
Art
Characterization
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Summary
BATMAN #67 only strengthens the surreal nature of "Knightmares". Ironically though, it provides the arc with the most clarity thus far.
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One Comment

  1. Jay Strong

    March 20, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    You realize the Beep Beep and the whole chase is a homage to Road Runner and Wile E Coyote from Looney Tunes, right? WILLIAM ERNEST COYOTE…get it???? Odd to not mention it at all in the review and thus the “deeper meaning you are trying to grab at seems a little silly!

    Reply

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