“I’ve been thinking lately. About you and me.”
Chapter 1 of the I Am Suicide arc kicks off here. This issue starts off with a narrative of a man reflecting on his tortured childhood. In addition, this issue showcases that Claire aka Gotham Girl’s condition is getting worse. In order for Batman to find a way to cure her from Psycho Pirate’s effects, he moves forward with Amanda Waller’s offer and begins recruiting his own covert ops team. What better place to pick a team than in Arkham Asylum?
I have to say, there are things in this issue that I wasn’t necessarily expecting. Heck, since the beginning of Tom Kings run on Batman, we’ve heard references to Bane but it had been some time since readers have been acquainted with Bane. I’ve never seen Bane look this intimidating ever… not since his first appearance (Knightfall) in comics history. In recent years DC has had a hand in making Bane more tactile like his roots, but for most, people have seen Bane time and again be relegated to being some hired thug when he is way too cunning and intellectual. So it’s great to see this iteration of Bane who not only feels physically imposing but is also terrifying on a strategic level. I mean, If readers weren’t convinced before about Batman recruiting his own suicide squad to stop this refreshingly scary take on Bane then they may be convinced now.
Tom King is really setting up some interesting plot details within this issue. There is an Easter egg in this issue that really acknowledges what Geoff Johns laid out since the beginning of Rebirth. Much like the current Flash writer Joshua Williamson , this issue really hints at some of the lingering questions since the beginning of the rebirth line. I really enjoyed the writing in this issue actually, seeing other villains that usually don’t get enough shine is always a good opportunity to build off of in my book. Especially when they are developed and executed right. But that remains to be seen in terms of who Tom King will add to the table in Batman’s roster. Even better is seeing a recruit who’s had long time associations with the Suicide Squad since the beginning of the title’s existence is an added bonus. I feel though that the last recruit is another one that readers haven’t seen for quite some time since Batman Eternal and what came after regarding this specific character.
Mikel Janin’s pencils/inks in this issue are superbly fitting for the tone of this story. When the readers are introduced to Bane as he sits on a makeshift throne of skulls, it’s a beautifully drawn cinematic page. It’s a very eerily drawn page, but one that fantastically displays tone. June Chung’s colors fit so well in this issue and compliment the pencils in a strong fashion. Especially when Bane is narrating some tidbits about himself. By the by, there are some cool easter eggs that sorta play off tidbits of the Moore’s/Bolland’s The Killing Joke in terms of the way one of the pages/scenes is set up. There are other minor easter eggs that may foreshadow what is to come after the groundworks were laid out in DC Rebirth #1. There is a certain symbol that’ll have any genuine comic fan have a bit of a grin when they see a familiar symbol marked in one of the pages. Although Night of the Monster Men was a cool mini crossover between the Bat-Titles, I feel that Tom King in this specific issue is where he finds solid footing. This was a solid issue that convinced me that Tom King knows what he’s playing at in his current run and I hope he has enough in the tank to keep the momentum going throughout this current arc.