REVIEW: Batman #9

“I AM SUICIDE” commences what is to be the final story arc featured in the main Batman title for 2016. If for some inexplicable reason you have yet to dive into DC’s Batman Rebirth run, or if you’re still attempting to navigate through the “Night of the Monster Men” Bat-crossover, then I have two words for you – HURRY UP! I could include a “what are you waiting for” phrase as well; however, that sounds a bit rude. Simply said, Batman #9 is a book that you certainly don’t want to put off for very long!

In this ninth Batman installment, the creative team incorporates references galore from some of the most treasured Dark Knight moments from long ago while simultaneously dropping enough Rebirth Easter Eggs that’ll definitely generate plenty of buzz throughout the comic book community for weeks to come. But, before I continue with this Batman #9 review, I would like for all of you Crusaders out there to understand that I am not a big fan of the modern-day trend of excessive comic book referencing. An homage of a classic story and/or of an iconic cover, occurs all too frequently nowadays I’m afraid. In my opinion, comic books, or their publishers for that matter, that exhibit and even encourage repetitiveness within their brand, will eventually succeed in diminishing the interest level that their respective readership invests into their product. Monotony in comics is not my friend at all, nor should it be yours. In fact, uniformity in comics contradicts one of the very reasons why I even buy comic books in the first place – to take pleasure in escaping reality for a bit by reading a highly entertaining and original
story. Wouldn’t you agree?

Well here comes the fun part of this review. Despite everything I just wrote above, I have realized that Batman #9 might just be an exception. Tom King composes an exhilarating script that is amply suitable for both deep-rooted and present-day Batman enthusiasts alike. Seasoned Batman readers will certainly enjoy the mix of defining Dark Knight moments that King sprinkled throughout the book. I won’t list all of the references King and team channeled here, but I will do so along with the cast of the Definitive Crusade during Episode 12 of our DC oriented podcast, which will be released next week. Stay tuned for that…

With the Bat-Family’s recent victory over the Monster Men and the defeat of the deranged Hugo Strange at the hands of the Dark Knight, Batman now concentrates his efforts towards helping Gotham Girl, who continues to suffer from the compelling mental influence of the Psycho Pirate. Where is Psycho Pirate you ask? Well, he’s in the unlikeliest of places you’d ever find him in – the Santa Prisca prison – which is being controlled by Bane! To get to Psycho Pirate, Batman needs to go through Bane first…on Bane’s turf…where Bane was born!

What makes this latest Batman tale outright remarkable is the intensified psychological aspect all of the characters displayed in this opening piece of the “I AM SUICIDE” arc. Bane is not quite the same (hey, that rhymed!) as he used to be. His dependency on Venom has been overcome, and instead of Bane being portrayed as a hulking brute, his is depicted as a complex individual with the mental capacity that can challenge Batman’s genius-level capabilities. This is important because Bane stays true to his core character traits – as a formidable rival for Batman; Venom or no Venom. If you are curious as to how Bane came to be, then I highly recommend that you listen to the Definitive Crusade Batman Day Special that was recorded with none other than Bane’s creator – Mr. Chuck Dixon!

Overall, this was a very pleasant book to read, thanks to the phenomenal script supplied by Tom King and the captivating art brought to us by Mikel Janin. Janin’s panels captured the essence of Batman’s crazy world perfectly. All of the expressions each character showed, their placement and the background art, was fantastic. June Chung’s colors reinforced Janin’s vision and also brought us a different perspective of Arkham from the inside (brighter colors) while presenting us with the dire environment shown when the story focused on Santa Prisca (darker colors).

The “I AM SUICIDE” arc is not one you’d want to miss. Don’t hesitate! Run out to your local comic book shop and buy it now! You’ll feel better once this magnificent book is in your hands.

Right Psycho Pirate? Uhhh….Psycho Pirate?

Until next time Crusaders!

Batman #9
Writer: Tom King
Pencils and Inks: Mikel Janin
Colorist: June Chung
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Published by DC Comics

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