Batman: Rebirth #72
Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Clayton Cowles (letterer), Mikel Janin (artist), Tom King (writer)
June 19th 2019
The first thing I want to say about Batman #73 is that it’s absolutely gorgeous. Mikel Janin draws such vividly beautiful panels, with each popping out with a cinematic quality that makes it an absolute pleasure to read. Jordie Bellaire’s colors give the comic a fantastical quality, desert nights that are bright and layered, giving a sense of depth. Desert days that look hot, with sandy hues that feel immersive, when the desert landscapes are drawn have the potential to feel flat and one-dimensional.
The breakup of panels is also a nice change of pace. In recent issues, and throughout multiple facets of the Rebirth arc at DC, we’ve seen the Nine Panel page. Instead, we get a focal point, and usually three to six panels spreading the story out. They wind like camera shots, direct the action. The comic itself isn’t very action heavy, but the dramatic push from the way the panels are broken out makes it a nice read.
In many ways, it feels like a call back to Janin’s work on Grayson #5, and the shift from the doom and gloom of Gotham certainly is a welcome one.
Since Thomas Wayne was reintroduced in Rebirth, it’s been unclear what his role is going to be. In issue #72 he admits to coordinating all of the attacks on Bruce in an effort to move him away from the mantle of Batman. Things only become more mysterious in issue #73. Thomas Wayne drags a captive Bruce Wayne, no cowl, no mask, through the desert. Behind his horse, he drags a metal coffin, who or what is inside? We aren’t really sure.
King does a good job of reminding us that Flashpoint Thomas Wayne isn’t a great guy, and could technically facilitate being a villain. He’s lost everything in his life, and suddenly, he has the chance to get his life back. To bring his son back from the edge, to steal the mantle of the Bat, and to start again.
The issue itself largely sets a tone, more than pushes the story forward. As the two make their way through the desert, very little is made clear about the purpose of this trip. Although, after seeing The Death In The Desert, we know that they’re on a journey into League Of Assassins Territory, to one of the Lazarus Pits.
Unlike the last issue, this comic doesn’t have any narrative. It solely relies on the dialog to give us a sense of Thomas Wayne, a juxtaposition from his inward persona, to his external. The dichotomy is interesting, a man who is so willing to ruin his son’s life, so suddenly embracing him.
Bruce’s walls also come down, albeit as a secondary to Thomas control over the narrative. We see Bruce afraid, truly, without the cowl, without Alfred, without being able to steal himself. The reunion is bitter-sweet, harsh and dysfunctional. It was also nice to see those famous lines brought into the comic as well. “Why do we fall …” It’s not the father/son reunion I ever thought we’d see in Batman, but it certainly is fitting. Filled with cryptic messages, ulterior motives, and mystery.
It seems with every tied up loose end, another mystery is revealed. Batman #73 certainly didn’t disappoint. There are so many questions that need to be answered before issue #85, and while #73 didn’t answer much, it certainly set up a unique narrative, one that I’m excited to see play out, and is certainly worth the read.