Thursday, June 1, 2017

Batman, Vol. 2: I Am Suicide

Batman hits the road, with a "Suicide Squad" all his own....

 I enjoyed this book so much that I overlooked one huge fundamental flaw that every DC collection has: There was no recap page. The events of the first volume are fresh enough in my mind that I remember why it is so important that Batman finds The Psycho-Pirate, but not every reader is going to recall that essential information, or they may not have even read the first volume. (This is a fairly complete stand-alone collection, aside from the aforementioned Psycho-Pirate story motivator...maybe a little prior knowledge of Bane would be useful, too.)

 The book begins with Batman going shopping for partners at Arkham Asylum...join him in his little suicide mission, and if you make it back alive, he'll do you a solid. He ends up recruiting quite a motley crew....I had a hard time imagining just why he would need The Bronze Tiger, The Ventriloquist, Punch & Jewelee, and Catwoman, but writer Tom King does an excellent job with giving every team member a unique use, as well as at least one standout scene of their own.

 The mission...? Break into Pena Duro prison, on the island nation of Santa inescapable prison on an island ruled by Bane, the man who broke Batman....find and capture The Psych-Pirate, and get out alive. If possible....

 I'm a sucker for a good "Getting the gang together" montage scene, and King delivers that in spades, as Batman, Commissioner Gordon, and Dr. Arkham make the rounds of the asylum looking for Batman's recruits. (There's even a neat little easter egg appearance from someone who seems destined to play a major part in DC's "Rebirth" storyline.)

 King digs deep into the psyches of Bane, Batman, and Catwoman, giving all three depth and motivation aplenty, as well as revealing some previously unseen psychological factors that drive them. King seems to be getting a lot of flack for his BATMAN run, but I'm really enjoying it. (Aside from the colossal blunder that was BATMAN: NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN, and I can hardly blame King for that atrocity.) The reason that Catwoman was incarcerated at Arkham Asylum seemed a little out-there, but it was all explained in the end, even if the explanation was a bit far-fetched.

 Bane has always been a favorite character of mine- I consider KNIGHTFALL to be one of the quintessential Batman stories- and it was great seeing him throw down with his arch-nemesis one more time. (From the title of the next volume- I AM BANE- I don't think the two are quite done fighting yet.) I loved how this volume ended, and I'm eager to see what, if anything, The Psycho-Pirate can do to help mend the broken Gotham Girl. Vol. 3 can't come quick enough.

 BATMAN, VOL. 2: I AM SUICIDE collects BATMAN #'s 9-15, complete with covers and variants, and earns a healthy eight out of ten bats:

 DC Comics provided a review copy.

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