The last issue of Batman saw Batman bludgeon a seemingly defenseless Bane, consider an alliance with longtime nemesis the Penguin and (somewhat unintentionally) cold-cock Commissioner Jim Gordon in the face.
Batman #60 deals with the aftermath of Batman’s increasingly unhinged actions as well as a potentially game-changing revelation.
“The one where Batman just kept hitting him.”
Instead of making him realize the error of his ways, last issue’s spur-of-the-moment, glasses-rattling haymaker across the face of longtime friend and confidante Commissioner Gordon has only made Batman double down on his ever increasing penchant for violence; the third installment of “The Tyrant Wing” opens with Batman bodying various members of his rogues gallery with the same levels of excessive roughness we saw him rain down on Mr. Freeze back in Batman #52, hellbent on extracting anything to substantiate the Penguin’s enigmatic and seemingly impossible claims that Bane has secretly been running Arkham Asylum.
“I was in Arkham for months! I was everywhere, I saw everything! Bane’s just in a cell, he doesn’t even come out!” one of Batman’s victims (there may be no better word) howls in submission. Once more (and in more imperative fashion) we’re left to wonder: has the Dark Knight finally become unhinged? Even in the context of a vigilante who dresses up as a Bat? The question becomes even more disheartening when we witness Commissioner Gordon, Batman’s oft-unyielding final tether to the side of lawful good, make his own answer to the question very clear (in a scene rendered powerfully by Janin and Bellaire).
The Penguin, it would seem, is no better off; still disconsolate over Bane snuffing his love Penny (whose true identity we’re able to glean from issue, though maybe we’ll wish we hadn’t) and under the supervision of Alfred in the Bat-Cave, Cobblepot has been thrust into startlingly similar circumstances as newfound strange bedfellow Batman; they are men both in mourning of a recently lost relationship and though they cope in vastly different ways, their overriding motive is clear: stop Bane.
If they can figure out just what the hell Bane is up to, that is. But is Penguin lying? Is he leading Batman on a wild goose chase despite his insistence that he’s not; despite his insistence that he and Batman have to work together?
And then comes the bombshell ending, which makes matters moving forward even more enigmatic. But no less intriguing.
A few nagging questions remain, but as always, we’ll have to wait for King’s grand unveiling before we can pass adequate judgement. Questions like: If the feds were surveilling KGBeast’s safehouse, doesn’t that sort of negate Batman’s circuitous odyssey in Batman #56? And Bronze Tiger claiming that nobody in the world knew where KGBeast’s safehouse was in the first place? Just what the hell is Bane’s endgame? And how did Comissioner Gordon get his abs so fleeky? (Yes, I hate myself for using that word.)
King has steeped the narrative deep in mystery, and although the fact Batman is seemingly no closer than he was five issues ago to making any headway into said mystery is sure to ruffle feathers, the ride remains undeniably enticing. Bring on the next installment.