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Subj: Batman 20 Review
Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 at 04:46:56 pm EDT (Viewed 11 times)

Wow, what to say about this issue?

I get what the author is doing. He wants to show just how determined Batman/Bruce is to help people.

Basically, it's a slug fest. Bane pounds on Bruce. Bruce manages to dodge couple of hits.

Bruce pounds on Bane. I keep using Bruce instead of Batman/Bats/Zorro rip-off for a reason. We'll get to that later.

Neither Bruce or Bane lose any teeth or have their jaws or noses broken.

When they're both worn out. Bane says I'm Bane, I'll kill your dog, eat your lunch, destroy your 47 sidekicks, urinate on your buildings, kick down that sand castle you spent so much time building at the beach. Bruce shows he is familiar with memes and says "Because I'm Batman" and head butts Bane, knocking him out.

And then we cut to a weird scene. I don't know what call the scene. A dream sequence? An imaginary scene? A view to what goes on in Bruce's mind? I really can't say. I'm not trying to be funny when I write that. (Yes, my reviews are meant to contain humor. Your mileage may vary).

After Bruce knocks Bane out. The scene goes to black and white and Martha, Martha, Martha Wayne says she's proud of Bruce, who is looking slick.

Bruce says no one gets it. He did what he did - fight Bane - not for vengance or revenge or laughs or a need to fulfill some weird masochistic streak that is based on self-punishment. He did it to help Gotham Girl because she needed help.

Remember Psycho Pirate was keeping her calm for reasons I forget and am too lazy to look up.

Mom says she's proud of Bruce.

Couple of problems. First what is that scene. Who is Bruce talking to? Why is his mom in his memories or his thoughts. Who is he telling that he's out to help a girl and not out for revenge.

Is this a fourth wall break? Is Bruce telling us? Is he telling his comrades? No. They can't see into his mind.

I get that we're supposed to get a reminder that Bruce cares about people and that's why Batman exists. I think we're supposed to see that Bruce is real and Batman is the tool he uses to help people. If nothing else a nice change of pace from the "Bats is real, Bruce is the mask" trope. But again, we're told not shown all of this. Problem is that Bruce's actions aren't convincing. Bruce's actions don't show a lot of caring. To me they show his pride. Superman can stop Bane in 10 seconds, but Bruce says no, it has to be me.

Look I will grant certain conventions to comics. One is that there are separate books with separate characters. They stay in their own lanes despite being in a shared universe. Cross overs are a rare and fun and special thing, excluding team books or team-up books.

This has to happen or Flash would solve every problem in any book. It's a conceit that I acknowledge and approve of. It gives books their own flavor and their own thing. Thus a Spider-Man book is different from a Captain America book. Their villains and themes and plain vibes are different. Great.

Back to the dream(?) sequence. Are we supposed to be surprised that Bruce cares about people? This whole scene is set up as a reveal - the butler did it - and that just doesn't work. Why are we supposed to be surprised? I can get it that characters in the book might be surprised that Batman does what he does to help people. But we're supposed be kept guessing what the theme is until the end? Naw.

And I am a strong believer that action is supposed to reveal character. What do we see in this fight. It's just two people pounding on each other until Bruce gets Bane to drop his guard for a head butt.

We don't see Bruce out think Bane or out fight Bane. He just head butts him. He didn't dodge Bane, or trap Bane or get Bane to indulge in too much ice cream and get a headache and become vulnerable.

Also, as to the Martha, Martha, Martha scene - why Martha as opposed to Thomas as opposed to Thomas and Martha, as opposed to Selina. What is the Martha connection that makes him explain his motives to her.

I mean I think this is in Bruce's head. This is Bruce ultimately talking to himself. Does Bruce have to convince himself that he's a good guy? Well let's talk about that. But that wasn't what was conveyed to us in the previous issues, at least not to me.

What I got was that Bruce refuses help that would have stopped a blood bath. Those villains Bane beat up were REALLY BEAT UP. Not cool Bruce. You want to help people, then accept help from people. It's not all about you. King may have been trying to show just how far Bruce will go to help someone. But it came across to me as Bruce self-justifying actions that I can only describe as self-centered and vain.

I mean Selina refuses to pushed away. Bruce pushes everyone else away, but not Selina. There's that. But what does it mean in the long run or in the story itself? Selina knows Bruce too well? Selina won't be bullied? The artists likes drawing a sexy but not sexist Selina? I don't know.

Or I could be wrong.

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