I really dig Scott Snyder’s various Batman stories, but I am starting to think Tom King’s work is a good rival for pure enjoyment.
The second volume, collected under the subtitle I Am Suicide, ramps up the action and adds an unexpected love story.
In the first volume, Batman briefly accepted help from a pair of new superheroes, Gotham and his sister Gotham Girl. Gotham lost his mind, while Gotham Girl helped bring him down. Now she’s in a desperate situation, and the only hope is the Psycho Pirate. But he fled to Santa Prisca, the island prison nation ruled over by Bane. To get her back, Batman agrees to serve on a special Suicide Squad for Amanda Waller. His team? The Ventriloquist, Bronze Tiger, an updated Punch and Jewelee, and Catwoman.
Catwoman is the big question mark here. She’s on death row for the murder of 237 people. That doesn’t sound like her to Batman. Can he push aside his feelings for the famously mercurial thief? Are those feelings mutual? And what does the subtitle mean?
King here crafts a story that, at one point, features a series of very brief appearances by all manner of lesser and forgotten Bat-foes. He is definitely putting his own unique spin on the Dark Knight, one that moves fast and is rather fun to read. The denouncement to the Catwoman murder storyline, to say nothing of the reason why the Ventriloquist of all people can defeat the Psycho Pirate are some rather clever moments, ones that reflect a great deal of knowledge and affection for Batman’s long history. That Batman and Catwoman remember their first encounters differently, him as a Golden Age story and her as Batman Year One, is the sort of touches I appreciate, and I will be wanting to continue now that Bane has a reason to return to Gotham. Nine out of ten fireproof bubblegum escapes.