The Batman: Arkham Knight prequel comic finally feels like it is moving full steam ahead, and just when you think this week's installment might be a one-shot light on plot, writer Peter Tomasi drops a major bombshell that will have a huge effect on issues to come.
Issue #13 starts simple enough: Bruce, Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara are taking a jog through a public park.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Batman comic if you only saw Bruce Wayne in jogging shorts, and Tomasi delivers some action this week in a unique, light-hearted way that works wonders. As the trio walks around the park, Barbara and Gordon make various comments about how Bruce doesn't get out much or has probably never actually used a public park, to which Bruce replies with his usual "rich person" jokes like "I usually pay people to jog for me."
Little do they know that Bruce was actually in the park just the night before fighting crime. The visual storytelling here really makes this issue. When Barbara comments on a broken water fountain in the park, the book leads straight into a panel of Batman bashing a thug's head into the fountain the night before, in the process breaking it.
It's one of those typical "it's funny because they don't know he is Batman" moments, but it works extremely well and lightens up the mood of what might otherwise have been a very serious issue. We won't spoil the game-changing conversation the three share, but it should be exciting to see where this whole storyline goes.
More than a little out of place this week is a brief scene involving Barbara fighting off an attacker with her wheelchair. It's not a bad scene by any means, as it shows Barbara, despite being wheelchair bound, is far from helpless. Still, it feels like this brief part of the book was only included to remind us that Barbara was at one time Batgirl in the Arkham universe. Will that somehow play into future issues (or the game's prequel DLC)? Possibly, but right now it felt like something else should have gone in this scene's place.
Like maybe having something to do with Arkham Knight, for example? Coming off last week's issue, it's little disappointing not to see Batman pursue his investigation of the mysterious new villain, but the plot is moved enough here to justify Arkham Knight once again taking a back seat.
A big bad that has been teased for a few issues now is finally free as well. If you looked at the cover for this issue, you probably already know who it is. If Tomasi's Bane is half as entertaining as the Bane in the Arkham games, the next several issues should be a wild ride.
More Comic Book Reviews: