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Batman #52 review: A day of jury duty you won’t want to end

“You’re saying Batman is not the hero we… Gotham thinks he is?”

The Mr. Freeze trial continues and one question remains: Did Batman use excessive force, making his arrest of Freeze illegal? The good jurors of Gotham say, “No.” Everyone except Bruce Wayne that is.

The official DC synopsis:

“Cold Days” continues! The jury in the Mr. Freeze trial is hopelessly deadlocked because one man won’t vote guilty–and that man is Bruce Wayne. Freeze’s defense is that Batman used excessive force, making his arrest illegal, and Bruce is the one man who actually knows for sure what went down between Batman and his ice-cold nemesis. And if Bruce is right, that means everything he’s devoted himself to as the Caped Crusader is a lie; he is hurting more than helping. With Dick Grayson putting the Batsuit back on to keep Gotham City safe while Bruce is sequestered, could this be the out Bruce needs to discard the cape and cowl forever?

I never thought I’d say this, but damn, that was a day of jury duty I couldn’t get enough of.

I realize this is because it’s jury duty in Gotham City, where fat, gentleman mobsters whose spirit animals are flightless, arctic birds; man-beasts with epidermolytic hyperkeratosis; and Kite-Men (hell yeah!) are the norm, but still — big ups to writer Tom King: court hasn’t been this entertaining since Law and Order.

Batman #52 is an issue that consists almost entirely of jury deliberation but one with such a diverse, lifelike cast of jurors, believable dialogue and a compelling court case with Bruce Wayne ingeniously serving as devil’s advocate against Batman, that it doesn’t matter.

Two examples from the issue without revealing too much:

“Yeah, Mr. Wayne. Considering some of us have actual jobs. Where we’re not just playboying around. Some of us can’t afford to lose money just sitting here.”


Bruce Wayne: “I think the question is — why did the GCPD miss something that Batman caught?”

Juror: “Because he’s Batman. He’s… better.”

Any interaction between Bruce and the jurors is entertaining, but the scenes where Bruce gets to know them during deliberation breaks, like one with Fred, formerly from Metropolis, are poignant and as well — which only further reinforces the air of authenticity which propels the narrative.

The art, like last issue, is handled by Lee Weeks and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser, and they do an excellent job once more. If you read my review of last issue, you can expect more of the same quality work here: Week’s “gritty, noirish lines” lending an air of gravitas and realism to the courtroom cast and flashback scenes of Batman and Freeze in combat that hit hard and heavy. The sequences where Freeze is in his cryogenic suit, red goggles the only contrast to the icy blue and frigid black framework and a later sequence where Batman loses control, thick blood-spatters punctuating every punch he throws, are depictions that stick with you long after the issue is over.

My only gripe: There aren’t any more Dick Grayson as Batman or Grayson/Gordon scenes like we saw last issue. If the official DC synopsis for Batman #54 is any indication though, we’ll be getting a lot more of that soon (in one way or another) — so in the meantime, let’s enjoy the rest of “Cold Days” while we can. And on that note, who knew I’d be so amped to read Batman getting dumped on his wedding day and subsequently going to jury duty? What’s next, a visit to the dentist? Because if King’s writing, I’d read it.

Batman #52 (2016-)
Is it good?
A day of jury duty you won't want to end.
King's dialogue and diverse, believable cast of jurors shine.
Solid art from Weeks and Breitweiser.
No Dick Grayson filling in as Batman this time around.

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