The Dark Knight may have just turned one of his most powerful allies into a powerful enemy in Batman #59.
Riding high on the desire for revenge, Bruce launches a one-man assault on Arkham based on intel from The Penguin. But has he turned Gordon and the GCPD against him once-and-for-all in the process?
Batman #59 features the tight, tense writing we’ve come to expect of Tom King. Following up on Penguin’s information, Bruce Wayne decides to interrogate the man he believes orchestrated attempts on the lives of Dick Grayson and Alfred.
King does an excellent job at forcing readers to second-guess themselves. Going into it, we’re confident Batman has the culprit pinned dead-to-rights. However, the interrogation is so brutal and uncompromising that the reader starts to lose confidence with each page. It’s not until the very last panel of the issue that we learn who’s truly masterminding the situation.
Another strong point for Batman #59 is the level of pathos dedicated to The Penguin. While a classic member of Batman’s rogues gallery, we don’t often get to see Penguin in such an earnest, genuinely somber light. You get the impression that Oswald Cobblepot fully understands the ramifications of his actions here. He’s embraced that he is effectively signing his own death warrant, and he’s happy to make that sacrifice to reunite with the mysterious “Penny.”
The artwork provided by Mikel Janin in Batman #59 is strong throughout. Right from the first panel, we can soak in the detail in the gates of Arkham Asylum, and the imposing structure behind them. Janin has contributed to about a third of all the Batman issues since Rebirth, and he clearly has a mastery of the character’s aesthetic at this point.
Much of the book shifts bewteen the present in Arkham and a flashback sequence of Wayne’s conversation with The Penguin. Each sequence is defined by a different mood owing largely to Jordie Bellaire’s excellent choice of colors. Bright, high-contrast yellows, greens, and oranges dominate the Arkham sequence, while the Penguin and Batman sequences are veiled in a palette of somber blues. The effect brilliantly highlights the tension in the former, while conveying the heavier emotional tone of the latter.
Batman #59 is an excellent new chapter in King’s ongoing run. If you’re not already reading this, you really should be.