BATMAN #70 by Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jorge Fornes, Jordie Bellaire, & Clayton Cowles
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
BATMAN #70 breaks away from the inconsistencies of "Knightmares" to bring The Dark Knight back into his natural habitat.
83 %
Wake me up inside
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He has dreamt of a boy named Matthew, a boy bred as he was but with the mind of a killer. He has dreamt of allies, Constantine and The Question, striving to wake him up. Finally, he has dreamt of the woman he lost, Selina Kyle, an ephemeral figure both in his dreams and in his reality. Now in BATMAN #70, The Dark Knight awakens from the Knightsmares. He has defeated his own subconscious in addition to the malicious toxins that entrapped him there.

Tom King’s “Knightmares” has been a divisive arc. Its surrealist style in addition to its overarching mysterious dive in Batman’s subconscious has been an alluring aspect of the story. However, its pace has proven to be a taxing element of the arc as it has ultimately struggled to tie loose ends and cultivate significant developments.

As a result, BATMAN #70 feels more rewarding than it should be due to the fact that it begins wrapping up a drawn-out narrative. With that, the issue proves itself to be a gratifying work that gives Batman a comeback moment.

BATMAN #70 Review
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Just Man Rages

BATMAN #70 with our titular hero recalling the various dreams he’s encountered throughout the duration of “Knightmares.” This recollection segues into his break out, all overlaying the backdrop of a man reciting The Argument by William Blake. As Batman breaks out of the machine keeping him asleep, we come to discover that he is in the basement of Arkham Asylum. Additionally, The Riddler has been waiting for him. Though, Batman immediately knocks him out and finds that The Riddler was not the only member of his Rogues’ Gallery waiting.

As he attempts to find his way out of Arkham, Batman encounters The Calendar Man, Man-Bat, and many others. During these confrontations, Batman accosts Bane for thinking he could take Batman down by “bad dreams”. The Dark Knight reminds the Rogue’s Gallery that he, Batman, is and always has been a true nightmare.

Stairway to Hell

As Batman nears his escape, he comes across Two-Face. Batman tells him to send a message to Bane.

The message? Batman will return to take Bane down with his army tomorrow. Batman then escapes Arkham Asylum as a man reciting Inferno by Dante Alighieri states that iconic line, “All hope abandon, ye who enter here!”

It is important to note that Inferno is quoted as Batman is leaving Arkham, suggesting that Arkham is not the perilous, hellish place we are warned of, but, rather, Gotham City. Batman could have easily succumbed to the Knightmare, never having to return to Gotham and confronting his demons. Yet, he chose to come back and fight until he found the devil himself. BATMAN #70 finally breaks us out of the long-winded, surreal Knightmare. Because of that alone, this issue is a satisfying installment in the series. Besides that, it is certainly an exhilarating issue as we witness Batman taking on his Rogues’ Gallery one by one.

BATMAN #70 Review
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Of course, there are still plenty of loose ends to address in regard to this ongoing, yet intangible, battle between Batman and Bane. Thus, BATMAN #70 finds its strength in its balanced pace and plot movement, qualities that were not regularly present throughout “Knightmares.” With this, I do hope to see BATMAN #71 tie up the remaining loose ends of the story as to not drag out the arc any more than it already has been.

The Fallen of BATMAN #70

The artwork of BATMAN #70 provides us with a refreshing break from the eccentric nature of prior issues. It reverts to a gritty tone and color palette, beautifully exemplified by colorist Jordie Bellaire. I particularly enjoy the green hues she implements when Batman first breaks free and confronts The Riddler. Those tones really establish the gloom and horror of Batman’s current reality. Additionally, Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes’ artwork is exceptional. Every confrontation Batman has with a specific villain is isolated, even if for a brief moment.

My personal favorite panel out of this whole issue comprises the image of Batman towering over Scarecrow. Scarecrow is a character capable of extracting your deepest fears and bringing them to the surface. Seeing Batman instill fear in a man such as that by his mere presence is quite astounding. Ultimately, BATMAN #70 finds its footing in many areas, and its artwork is undoubtedly one of them.

BATMAN #70
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

What Lies Beyond

Bane failed to defeat Batman through a series of bad dreams, at least that is what The Dark Knight believes. It is apparent that Bane anticipated Batman’s escape from his own nightmares. Thus, one can anticipate that Bane is already working on the next step of his evil master plan.

Consequently, one cannot help but wonder if Batman truly escaped at all from his imprisonment within Arkham Asylum. He could very well still be entrapped within Bane’s grasp and not even know it.

I believe it is safe to say that the World’s Greatest Detective is not out of the woods yet.

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