Tom King has revealed that Bane has been the mastermind behind everything that has gone wrong for Batman in his run and has retold one of the Dark Knight’s most famous stories.
In what could be called “Knightfall Redux,” Tom King, Mikel Janin, and Jorge Fornes pay homage to one of Batman’s greatest stories and one of his lowest points, as Bane breaks Batman’s back once again, or for the first time. It’s not entirely clear if Batman’s back break is a retcon of the original story or since Rebirth is now part of the original continuity, if this marks the second time that this has happened.
King’s approach to breaking Batman’s back differs from Doug Moench, writer of the original break, as King pins Batman’s fall to mental and psychological fatigue–the break-up with Catwoman, drugging which led to inner turmoil, and giving Bruce hope for a future without Batman. Conversely, Moench physically tired Batman out, stretching too thin, and allowing for Bane to take advantage and give us one of the most iconic moments in Batman’s history.
Credit to DC comics
“The Fall and the Fallen : Part 3“ is a story told on two fronts. The first is to give us a sort of “recap” of King’s runs thus far and how we have gotten to this point. The other is to bring to light that Bane has been behind all of the events that have plagued Batman under King’s run. From the crashed plane in issue No. 1, which introduced Gotham and Gotham Girl, to Catwoman leaving him at the altar, leading Batman down a dark path, all can be attributed to Bane. Batman No. 72 serves as the great unveiling of Bane’s plan, culminating in Bane breaking Batman inside Wayne Manor, while Thomas Wayne narrates the past.
Credit to DC comics
While we as readers already knew that Bruce’s dad was involved in Bane’s master plan, it never gets any easier to see Flashpoint Batman, who had such a touching moment in that storyline, betray his son in such an overt way. While his original point (him not wanting his son to become Batman) might be relatable for a parent, it seems a bit sadistic for Thomas to be complacent in Bane’s master plan to break the Bat.
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Once again, the art by Mikel Janin and Jorgen Fornes is impeccable and used as an asset to King’s storytelling. Because this is somewhat of a “best of” issue, the creative team decided to split up the art by giving the “present” to Fornes and giving the flashbacks to Janin, since he was there to draw those stories.
Janin’s flashback pages are incredible splash pages that take us down memory lane. The also remind us of some of Batman’s biggest moments in King’s run, which in turn remind us what Bruce has gone through over the past 72 issues. This ultimately gives weight to what Bane, and Thomas Wayne, have built over the same amount of time.
Batman No. 72, while not entirely clear if the story is an homage or a reboot, does do a good job of bringing what has been over three years of storytelling to a climax. King does what he does best: deconstructing heroes to their most basic element to make them relatable, even though some will argue that note has been overplayed in this run.