At this point, it feels as though Tom King’s “Knightmares” is lethargically crawling toward its conclusion as most of the arc’s installments have been uneventful. Unfortunately, BATMAN #68 is one of those installments as the issue does not provide anything new to the arc or the overarching series. BATMAN #68 is particularly disappointing considering it follows two of the arc’s strongest issues. Those issues exemplified the volatile nature of Batman’s mind in addition to his struggle to come to terms with his identity. None of those aspects are present in BATMAN #68.

Rather, it feels as though the context of the issue is derivative of preceding events.

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BATMAN #68 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Bruce Wayne’s Worst Nightmare

BATMAN #68 opens with Lois and Catwoman drunkenly rolling up to the Fortress of Solitude. There, they enjoy Catwoman’s bachelorette party by drinking wine acquired from the depths of the galaxy. Meanwhile, Batman is celebrating his own bachelor party with Superman. However, celebration is a strong word to use.

He and Superman eat soup and play chess, for the most part, barely exchanging words. Well, that is until Superman makes some sudden and striking comments about Batman himself. Superman states that happiness is Batman’s worst nightmare. He suggests that Batman embraces the joy of not always being needed by Gotham City and his allies. Superman goes on to say that he understands why Catwoman did not go through with the wedding.

He knows Batman’s secret.

The secret? Well, Batman hates being Batman, but he loves that he has to be Batman. The sequence abruptly transitions into an image of Batman, attached to some machinery that seems to be catalyzing these nightmares. Thus, BATMAN #68 is basically another issue that revisits the events and consequences of BATMAN #50. As a result, this particular installment feels unnecessary. It does not bring closure to any of the ambiguities “Knightmares” has established. It does not bring any newfound revelations from BATMAN #50.

Yes, there are various moments of humor in this issue. However, those moments are not enough to make this issue feel like a satisfying one. Therefore, BATMAN #68 is an incredibly disappointing issue that just feels like a filler.

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BATMAN #68 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of BATMAN #68

The artwork of BATMAN #68 comprises an overarching light-heartedness that provides an interesting juxtaposition to the general tone of “Knightmares”. As a result, the artwork contributes to the surrealist nature of “Knightmares.” However, I do not find this specific style to be fitting in the context of the story. Also, the cartoony character depictions are not my cup of tea. With this though, there are some enjoyable images that pop out.

For example, the red background that accompanies the sequence in which Batman and Superman play chess isolates those two characters in the conversation (or lack thereof) of that moment. That sequence, in particular, proved to be the issue’s turning point as Superman went on to reveal Batman’s “secret.” Thus, the simple act of a red background is enough to emphasize that sequence as the game-changer.

Additionally, I  love the last image that reveals Batman’s actual state of being. The green tone and the image of a horrified Batman contribute to a terrifying closing page that maintains the frightening nature of “Knightmares.” So, overall, the artwork of BATMAN #68 falls short. However, there are a handful of impactful moments in the issue’s imagery.

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BATMAN #68 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

What Lies Beyond

“Knightmares” is nearing its end, and there are still a plethora of mysteries that remain. Batman has been trapped inside his own subconscious, revisiting significant moments in his life and ultimately taking a look at who he is and who he has become. Thus, it is safe to say that Batman will not come out of this experience the same person he was going into it. The question is though, why is he enduring this experience?

Hopefully, those answers will come sooner rather than later. “Knightmares” has also caused some other significant plotlines to take a backseat, including the sudden appearance of Flashpoint Batman. So, it will be nice to see the resolution of this event, and others, following the conclusion of “Knightmares”, particularly since this arc has been drawn out for quite some time. So, I believe it is safe to say that most readers are ready for answers and a satisfying conclusion.

BATMAN #68 by Tom King, Amanda Conner, Dan Panosian, John Timms, Mikel Janin, Paul Mounts, Jordie Bellaire, & Clayton Cowles
BATMAN #68 has its moments of fun. Though, the overarching issue just emphasizes the stagnant nature of "Knightmares".
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