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‘Batman #54’ (review)

Written by Tom King
Illustrated by Matt Wagner
Published by DC Comics

 

This is the controversial issue that was in the news in the last month.

Basically, artist Matt Wagner’s son, Brennan Wagner, was the original colorist of the book. He was removed from it by DC Comics and it caused a little tension. That’s a real shame because the issue itself is wonderful. Don’t let the news take away from what is a fine issue.

Sure, Brennan Wagner would have added another dimension to the book, but I’m going to base this review on what’s there. And what’s there is pretty excellent.

The opening sequence depicting the death of Dick Grayson’s parents is one of the most emotional things I’ve read this year.

It’s a simple, yet brilliantly designed page. Kudos to Tom King for writing such an effective page and to Matt Wagner for drawing it so well.

It’s a great page that offsets the rest of the issue of Batman and Nightwing hanging out together. “Hanging out” in this instance means fighting crime and other things.

From there, the Dynamic Duo fight Crazy Quilt and it’s a hilarious scene. The dialogue in particular was humorous here. King does a great job of switching gears and making everything seamless. Then things get really interesting.

We see a related flashback. Then, we see Dick hugging Bruce in his den. Bruce assures Dick that his time as Batman is over for now and Dick wants to let Bruce know that it’s okay to have emotions. Dick knows Bruce was dumped by Selina and he wants to help Bruce through it. And things don’t go as expected of course, being that Bruce is Batman.

We go back in forth in time in this issue. We also see Batman and Nightwing fight some of the worst villains out there (Condiment King anyone?) They watch some football. They spend time together and catch up.  Through it all, we see that Bruce and Dick will always be there for each other.

It’s a funny, emotional ride that King and Wagner give us. The story is fantastic. The art is some of Wagner’s best. The ending is a little abrupt but I’ll forgive it. This is another beautiful issue in King’s run. I know it was controversial but I hope this team, much like Bruce and Dick in this issue, work together again for some time to come.

RATING: A

 

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