With an event as cataclysmic as Batman and Catwoman’s failed wedding, it comes as no surprise that the consequences of the said event have continued to ripple throughout Bruce Wayne’s current arcs. With that being said, BATMAN #54 emphasizes the consequences of Batman’s breakup through a different lens, that of Dick Grayson. Ultimately, BATMAN #54 highlights the dependence the two have maintained upon one another throughout their comic book history together.

Though Dick once relied on Bruce to take care of him when he no longer had a home to go too, Bruce currently finds himself turning to Dick for solace in a dark, lonely time of his life. However, though writer Tom King presents some touching moments within Bruce and Dick’s journey in this issue, the constant reminder of BATMAN #50 has certainly gotten tiring.

batman #54
BATMAN #54 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

It’s Time For A New Age Of Batman

BATMAN #54 commences with a re-interpretation of the tragic deaths of the Flying Graysons. From there, writer Tom King moves the narrative into a series of time-wavering vignettes featuring moments in which Bruce first brought Dick into his home and present moments in which Dick consoles Bruce following his breakup.

It is undoubtedly heartfelt to see the subtle moments that solidified the trust between these two. It is also nice to see how the two continue to maintain that trust today.

Hammering a Life-Changing Verdict in BATMAN #53

However, those subtle moments are all there is to BATMAN #54. Once again, the issue at hand makes us aware of BATMAN #50’s repercussions. Once again, we are reminded that Bruce Wayne is lost and is attempting to redefine his identity. But, those aspects of Bruce Wayne’s current characterization are still incredibly vague.

Issues BATMAN #51 through BATMAN #53 flawlessly fleshed out Bruce’s conflicted psyche. So, coming into BATMAN #54, I expected the work to provide more affirmation in regard to where Bruce’s journey is going from this point. Unfortunately, it did not. It’s a static narrative that does not push forward as much as one would expect.

Thus, as of now, I am ready for this series to move forward. I am ready to move on from the events of BATMAN #50 and give our titular hero a new fight to pursue.

batman #54
BATMAN #54 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of BATMAN #54

Though the art succeeds in presenting quirky, nostalgic moments between our main characters and laughable villains such as the Condiment King, the artwork of BATMAN #54 tends to exemplify a one-dimensional nature. Character appearances often appear inconsistently throughout the work’s panels. This is most apparent in young Dick’s appearance, particularly in the sequence where he argues with Bruce.

Personally, I also wished there were more distinctions between the past and present timelines. This aspect, in addition to a lack of detail in characters and backgrounds, ultimately contributes to a stagnant work.

3 Comics To Adapt Besides BATMAN: YEAR ONE

As a result, it is hard to feel the energy and emotion the narrative is attempting to evoke.

Now, the coloring of Tomeu Morey is undoubtedly BATMAN #54’s highlight. The warm hues he implements in the more tender moments certainly amplify the emotional factor. I also enjoy his juxtaposition of those sequences with moments in which Bruce breaks down, portrayed through harsher, red tones. Overall, BATMAN #54 has some poignant artistic moments. However, I only wish those moments were more dynamic.

What Lies Beyond

Thus, as a whole, BATMAN #54 is a mixed bag. Its intentions are noble and genuine. Unfortunately, though, its excessive dependence on nostalgia makes for a work that will leave readers feeling empty. Yes, it is heartwarming to witness moments between Bruce and Dick that solidified their relationship years ago. It is also heartwarming to see how those moments have translated into the present timeline.

However, in the context of BATMAN as a whole, these moments are not enough. There needs to be more dynamic movement in Bruce Wayne’s narrative. He has been in a stagnant state for quite some time and though his response to BATMAN #50 is justified, I believe it is time for his grief to be turned into something formative. Surely, a new path lies ahead for Batman, and I believe I speak for many readers when I say I am ready for what’s to come.

BATMAN #54 by Tom King, Matt Wagner, & Tomeu Morey
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
BATMAN #54 tries hard to be heartfelt and resonate with those who are still feeling the effects of BATMAN #50, but the issue ultimately ends up falling flat and failing to make an impact.
63 %
blast from the past
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