As a series, Tom King’s run has been seen as divisive within the comic community, due to the way he handles characters and sets up arcs, only to leave things unexplained. In his final issue on Batman, the author focused on multiple aspects of the series that needed closure, but leaves out important plot points.
During the first part of his issue, we get the closure from Batman beating his father, along with Catwoman’s help, as they break Thomas Wayne. While the series focused on Batman saying he’d do that to Bane in the early chapters, we were denied that and instead given this set of events, and Bruce denying his alternate universe father’s wishes. In this world, Bruce instead arrests his father, only to have Bane beak his father’s back in prison. This part needed more explanation, as Thomas shot Bane in the head, and Tom King settles for briefly mentioning that Bane somehow survived. Instead, it just gives us a cool full page spread, but minimal closure on how Bane survived.
Another plot element that King covers is Gotham Girl and Batman, as he works alongside her and gives her kryptonite that restores powers. While the dialogue during his moment felt endearing, with a focus on Gotham Girl wanting to see Bruce marry Selina; the ability for Gotham Girl to get her powers back from a piece of kryptonite felt like a easy way out. We had no build up to this being a possibility, and it just happened, so that we could have a happy moment. It took away from the struggle of helping her and working towards a common goal, by having an easy solution.
Afterwards, King focusses on Selina and Batman in a relationship again, as the two characters are fighting across the rooftops of Gotham, and we get another gorgeous full page spread of the two going through the air, with lower opacity images of the characters fighting over the years. This then leads to a moment of the two in bed together, followed by meting at Bruce’s favorite bar. All of these moments showcased that maybe Bruce will try and marry Catwoman again and maybe she will accept it this time. The Wedding was one of the more controversial moments of Tom King’s run, due to the poor ending to the arc, but it spawned the Catwoman solo series as well; and in it, we see Selina contemplating whether she should go back to Bruce and be with him.
King’s last major plot point that he covers in his final issue is Alfred’s sudden and unexpected death. As Batman visits the grave, we see Selina join him, as the two characters mourn the loss of Bruce’s father figure growing up. While a touching moment, it was brief compared to the other plot points that King covered in the issue, and it still failed to explain why he chose to kill off Alfred without context earlier.
Unfortunately, the series failed to explain how Tim Drake survived an arrow to the chest; We didn’t get Batman breaking Bane; We didn’t get why Selina and the Bat Family were helping Thomas at the end; We didn’t get why Alfred died; We didn’t get why Clayface was helping Batman; All of these and more that I might be forgetting, were left unexplained. Tom King introduced so many plot elements and important story parts, that he forgot to tie up each part and explain things further, instead we got issues with sad moments and important plot points that just end with no detail. The lack of a clean ending makes for a weaker series.
While lacking in closure on some important plot points, King did do well at covering some of the more recent elements of the series and important parts during his run. We got Thomas Wayne and Bane, Selina marrying Bruce, Gotham Girl and her powers, Alfred’s death; all of these were big moments at different points in the series. Since King touched base with them, albeit for a small period of time with some characters, we did get as good of closure as I’d expect from the author.
Overall, Tom King’s watch has ended as Batman is now going to be covered by Tynion IV. We’ll see what the Justice League Dark author has in store for the character and how it compared to others run on the hero. I can’t wait to see how it feels, compared to the Bat & Cat heavy run that tom King gave us.