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  1. #331
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob.schoonover View Post
    I should clarify (it was clear in my head) - lowercase "nightmare" refers to the specific fear being highlighted, as in "I had the worst dream, I showed up to school naked." The Constantine story was quite good, and I like the implication that Bruce is always evaluating other heroes as to whether or not they lived up to their potential. I just think "if Selina becomes a part of my quest, she might die" is a pretty obvious fear for Bruce (given how many allies have been killed or maimed) and any other hero. It's less specific than Master Bruce (could my circumstances led me down a different path)*, Pyg (will Damian become one of the monsters I face), does Selina love me, can I love her, etc.

    I think you're on point w/everything about the Chase. I should re-view it through that lens. It's a very pointed example of Bruce's descent into anger and sadness starting with the wedding. And while I think that the Chase as an interruption works (there's a little too much tell not show in the finale explaining what the plot of the arc was), I believe once we know everything, The Chase (madness of the quest) transitioning to Constantine (the quest will kill Selina) transitioning to The Question (does Selina really love me) transitioning to Bachelor Party (do I really love Selina) is more pointed and feels like how I think Bruce's mind might work. I can appreciate the idea that the nightmares don't transition in an orderly manner, but the rest of the run is so engineered to rhyme, it's a bit off to me to have the nightmares are so jumbled.


    *While I think Master Bruce is the least affecting, this run is littered with characters who share aspects of Bruce's origin, upbringing, or motivation. I Am Suicide draws the parallels between he and both Selina and Bane as abandoned children, I Am Gotham covers Gotham Girl and Gotham and how they're motivated by their own almost Crime Alley moment, then you have Thomas (actual Crime Alley moment) and Master Bruce (rich little snot). If my reading of what the point of the story was is correct, I do understand why Master Bruce was chosen - he's the least integrated into the rest of the plot so it's less confusing than if the Nightmare had been Claire or Selina murdering people "in self defense"
    Interesting points, as before! Perhaps I read the Knightmares as more meta-commentary on Batman as well as a window into what Bruce is feeling, and give them a lot of extra slack about being disjointed because that's the nature of dreams. I didn't mind all the telling in the finale - it was very classic Tom King, and interesting that he does sometimes try to be really clear when elsewhere is revels in ambiguity.

    All that being said, thanks all for the discussion of one of my favorite (and no one else's ) arcs in Knightmares, and move on to The Fall and the Fallen, #70-74, a five part arc the picks right up from The Tyrant Wing, and despite all the time that Knightmares gave, has last minute rewrites necessitating Jorge Fornes to come in as a last minute artist. (And even though I don't like that the rewrites were necessary, or fill in art generally, I adore Fornes, so I'm actually kind of happy about this). What do you think about the second to last arc of the run? Do the issues tying everything together make sense to you? (I know for some of us, they were a bit too "perfect", though I wasn't particularly bothered personally.)

    We are also moving the Annual #4, Every Day, forward a bit so as not to break up City of Bane. This issue, according to King, was sort of a mission statement for what Batman means to him. I find it fairly moving, with lovely art again by Fornes, and an additional coda by Mike Norton. It's a bit disjointed and doesn't quite feel necessary, but as a collection of stories that add up to "what is Batman", it's very nice, and I kind of wish it had come earlier, as many people hating on the run seemed to enjoy it, and maybe it would have clarified what King was working towards a bit earlier.

    To me, "Every Day" makes the argument that Batman is a job, and should be a job - one that Batman works at with all his heart - but he can also be a person, kind and warm - the moment with Tim really sticks out to me, as does the helping the old lady across the street. Perhaps it's just that Fornes makes the dragon look so awesome, and Batman killing it so amazing, or it's because Night of the Monster Men set up Batman as monster fighter, but I didn't really have any genre problems. It felt like a love letter both to the street level crime stories (the train story) and the wacky Silver Age adventures, and the philosophical style adventures. It's just a very nice issue with absolutely gorgeous art. It's not Annual #2...but really, how many Annual #2s do you get? It's about on the level of Annual #1: Good Boy, which is a very touching, whimsical, lovely story as well.
    "We're the same thing, you and I. We're both lies that eventually became the truth." Lara Notsil, Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, Aaron Allston
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  2. #332
    Mighty Member Chubistian's Avatar
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    The Fall and the Fallen:

    First, I love the title of this storyarc. It has meaning in various ways, from the russian tale that Thomas used to read Bruce at night, with the animals falling, to the fall of Bruce and the path father and son make to the pit where they have their fight. Also, it made a link to Bane as a man who fell and rised up.

    The visual cohesion is pretty great, having two great pencillers dealing with different sides of the story. Script-wise, I don't like the full revelation in such an expository way, but it doesn't go bad with the overall run, as it's a technique that is already part of the language used in Tom King's Batman.

    Apart from that, I think the events in this five-part story work pretty well, from Batman's escape from Arkham, a redo of Bane's invasion into the Asylum, to their fight mixed with Batman's call of the troop and Bruce and Thomas's walk in the desert (accompanied by that great cover that pays homage to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly). It has some of those narrative choices that are a trope by now, like members of the Batfamily saying things like "I never thought I would see the red Batsignal" to augment the stakes, but I understand these elements are part of superhero storytelling even when I'm not particularly fond on them
    "The Batman is Gotham City. I will watch him. Study him. And when I know him and why he does not kill, I will know this city. And then Gotham will be MINE!"-BANE

    "We're monsters, buddy. Plain and simple. I don't dress it up with fancy names like mutant or post-human; men were born crueler than Apes and we were born crueler than men. It's just the natural order of things"-ULTIMATE SABRETOOTH

  3. #333
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chubistian View Post
    The Fall and the Fallen:

    First, I love the title of this storyarc. It has meaning in various ways, from the russian tale that Thomas used to read Bruce at night, with the animals falling, to the fall of Bruce and the path father and son make to the pit where they have their fight. Also, it made a link to Bane as a man who fell and rised up.

    The visual cohesion is pretty great, having two great pencillers dealing with different sides of the story. Script-wise, I don't like the full revelation in such an expository way, but it doesn't go bad with the overall run, as it's a technique that is already part of the language used in Tom King's Batman.

    Apart from that, I think the events in this five-part story work pretty well, from Batman's escape from Arkham, a redo of Bane's invasion into the Asylum, to their fight mixed with Batman's call of the troop and Bruce and Thomas's walk in the desert (accompanied by that great cover that pays homage to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly). It has some of those narrative choices that are a trope by now, like members of the Batfamily saying things like "I never thought I would see the red Batsignal" to augment the stakes, but I understand these elements are part of superhero storytelling even when I'm not particularly fond on them
    You bring up some really good points. I think, to me, the City of Bane stuff is just so powerful in my head that it kind of overwhelms The Fall and the Fallen. Because big, run-shaking stuff happens in this arc.
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  4. #334
    Mighty Member Chubistian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millernumber1 View Post
    You bring up some really good points. I think, to me, the City of Bane stuff is just so powerful in my head that it kind of overwhelms The Fall and the Fallen. Because big, run-shaking stuff happens in this arc.
    The Fall and the Fallen does stand up in this run personally because it has a confrontation I had been expectig ever since I saw Thomas among Bane's cabal in the "wedding" issue. I think Tom King handled really well the exchange between both characters, and it's a perfect prelude for the end of the run and the shift it had from a Batman vs Bane conflict to a "father" and son conflict, though I think the essence of the run from the beggining remained the same: what does it mean to be Batman, if Bruce can be happy and still don the cowl, the choice of fighting crime against the obligation of fighting crime, among other questions the run put in the table and answered
    "The Batman is Gotham City. I will watch him. Study him. And when I know him and why he does not kill, I will know this city. And then Gotham will be MINE!"-BANE

    "We're monsters, buddy. Plain and simple. I don't dress it up with fancy names like mutant or post-human; men were born crueler than Apes and we were born crueler than men. It's just the natural order of things"-ULTIMATE SABRETOOTH

  5. #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chubistian View Post
    The Fall and the Fallen does stand up in this run personally because it has a confrontation I had been expectig ever since I saw Thomas among Bane's cabal in the "wedding" issue. I think Tom King handled really well the exchange between both characters, and it's a perfect prelude for the end of the run and the shift it had from a Batman vs Bane conflict to a "father" and son conflict, though I think the essence of the run from the beggining remained the same: what does it mean to be Batman, if Bruce can be happy and still don the cowl, the choice of fighting crime against the obligation of fighting crime, among other questions the run put in the table and answered
    All true - but when you say "perfect prelude" - that's exactly what I think. It's a setup for something else. And yet, it pays of a ton of stuff. I dunno. I really struggle with my feelings about it.
    "We're the same thing, you and I. We're both lies that eventually became the truth." Lara Notsil, Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, Aaron Allston
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  6. #336
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    I just read Steve Englehart's run on Detective, and I was really struck when reading #74, the Pit issue, when Bruce takes the iconic boast of Batman vs. Deadshot, "That (killing me) has been tried by experts, but I'm still here" and turns it into a profound statement of loss - "My mother is dead. My father is dead. I'm still here."

    I again can see the frustration of those who like the badass boast seeing it so melancholy. But looking at Englehart, he turns that badass boast into hollow tragedy when Silver leaves Batman after learning the truth, while King has Selina stay by Bruce's side in victory - she's still here too.

    There are so many connections and layers to this run, just showing why I love it so.
    "We're the same thing, you and I. We're both lies that eventually became the truth." Lara Notsil, Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, Aaron Allston
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  7. #337
    Mighty Member Chubistian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millernumber1 View Post
    I just read Steve Englehart's run on Detective, and I was really struck when reading #74, the Pit issue, when Bruce takes the iconic boast of Batman vs. Deadshot, "That (killing me) has been tried by experts, but I'm still here" and turns it into a profound statement of loss - "My mother is dead. My father is dead. I'm still here."

    I again can see the frustration of those who like the badass boast seeing it so melancholy. But looking at Englehart, he turns that badass boast into hollow tragedy when Silver leaves Batman after learning the truth, while King has Selina stay by Bruce's side in victory - she's still here too.

    There are so many connections and layers to this run, just showing why I love it so.
    Did you like Strange Apparitions? I love it, but it's a very classic style Batman story (though maybe sofisticated for its time), which may not please everyone. The relationship between Bruce and Silver isn't carefully developed (even when Silver is a cool character), but that happens often in superheroes comicbooks. Other than that, I regard this story as one of the best of Batman and it has one of my favorite bat-villains, Hugo Strange, and the great Marshall Rogers making top notch visual art.

    I think Tom King has a big interest and ability at the time of doing references and homages to other authors and stories but also going further and twisting them to give new meaning and nuance

    EVERYDAY

    I love this annual, first, visually, with that great homage to Dr Strange pencilled by Steve Ditko, in the form of Batman visiting a surreal reality with Jorge Fornés incredible skills. Mike Norton also does a terrific job in the few pages he handles, that maybe aren't especially necessary, but I think they add a better pacing and punch to the end of the story. This work as a synthesized version of Tom King's view on Batman. Of courses, it doesn't pack the deepness or layers that the overall run has, but it sums up the essence of the character and the notion of not giving up
    Last edited by Chubistian; 04-03-2020 at 09:54 AM.
    "The Batman is Gotham City. I will watch him. Study him. And when I know him and why he does not kill, I will know this city. And then Gotham will be MINE!"-BANE

    "We're monsters, buddy. Plain and simple. I don't dress it up with fancy names like mutant or post-human; men were born crueler than Apes and we were born crueler than men. It's just the natural order of things"-ULTIMATE SABRETOOTH

  8. #338
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chubistian View Post
    Did you like Strange Apparitions? I love it, but it's a very classic style Batman story (though maybe sofisticated for its time), which may not please everyone. The relationship between Bruce and Silver isn't carefully developed (even when Silver is a cool character), but that happens often in superheroes comicbooks. Other than that, I regard this story as one of the best of Batman and it has one of my favorite bat-villains, Hugo Strange, and the great Marshall Rogers making top notch visual art.

    I think Tom King has a big interest and ability at the time of doing references and homages to other authors and stories but also going further and twisting them to give new meaning and nuance

    EVERYDAY

    I love this annual, first, visually, with that great homage to Dr Strange pencilled by Steve Ditko, in the form of Batman visiting a surreal reality with Jorge Fornés incredible skills. Mike Norton also does a terrific job in the few pages he handles, that maybe aren't especially necessary, but I think they add a better pacing and punch to the end of the story. This work as a synthesized version of Tom King's view on Batman. Of courses, it doesn't pack the deepness or layers that the overall run has, but it sums up the essence of the character and the notion of not giving up
    I must admit, there's a certain distance that almost every comic written before the mid-90s has for me. Only Year One and Detective Comics Annual #1 really erase the distance that the previous generation's style has for me. So sadly, the same was true for Strange Apparitions. I appreciated it more than I loved it. But there was a lot for me to appreciate! And I 100% agree that King is interested in finding key elements of previous runs, and adapting or recontextualizing them so they have coherent meaning in his run and thematic preoccupation as well.

    Agree that it doesn't quite pack the punch of the run as a whole, but as a thesis statement - Batman's work is every day, saving lives, doing good, sometimes even just giving a hug - I think it's really good, and I'm glad to own it.

    And Fornes does indeed just hit it out of the park, though the dragon sequence, as previously mentioned, is my favorite (similar to the octopus monster sequence in #66).
    "We're the same thing, you and I. We're both lies that eventually became the truth." Lara Notsil, Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, Aaron Allston
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  9. #339
    Mighty Member Chubistian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millernumber1 View Post
    I must admit, there's a certain distance that almost every comic written before the mid-90s has for me. Only Year One and Detective Comics Annual #1 really erase the distance that the previous generation's style has for me. So sadly, the same was true for Strange Apparitions. I appreciated it more than I loved it. But there was a lot for me to appreciate! And I 100% agree that King is interested in finding key elements of previous runs, and adapting or recontextualizing them so they have coherent meaning in his run and thematic preoccupation as well.

    Agree that it doesn't quite pack the punch of the run as a whole, but as a thesis statement - Batman's work is every day, saving lives, doing good, sometimes even just giving a hug - I think it's really good, and I'm glad to own it.

    And Fornes does indeed just hit it out of the park, though the dragon sequence, as previously mentioned, is my favorite (similar to the octopus monster sequence in #66).
    That's fine, one of the best aspects of this serialized industry and the art of comicbook superheroes is that there's enough material for all tastes. I'm glad that you did find things to appreciate anyways!

    I think it's also important to note that both, Annual #3 and #4, have a focus on Alfred (in the former, he's the protagonist, in the latter, a witness narrator), which helps to build his character better in the run (even when Tom Taylor handled script duties in Annual #3) at the face of the destiny he finally had, though it seems more like a coincidence when everything points out that originally Alfred wasn't going to die
    "The Batman is Gotham City. I will watch him. Study him. And when I know him and why he does not kill, I will know this city. And then Gotham will be MINE!"-BANE

    "We're monsters, buddy. Plain and simple. I don't dress it up with fancy names like mutant or post-human; men were born crueler than Apes and we were born crueler than men. It's just the natural order of things"-ULTIMATE SABRETOOTH

  10. #340
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chubistian View Post
    That's fine, one of the best aspects of this serialized industry and the art of comicbook superheroes is that there's enough material for all tastes. I'm glad that you did find things to appreciate anyways!

    I think it's also important to note that both, Annual #3 and #4, have a focus on Alfred (in the former, he's the protagonist, in the latter, a witness narrator), which helps to build his character better in the run (even when Tom Taylor handled script duties in Annual #3) at the face of the destiny he finally had, though it seems more like a coincidence when everything points out that originally Alfred wasn't going to die
    I do love Alfred in King's run, but I agree - he's not built up enough for his death to be earned by King. Obviously, he's an amazing character, but killing him off in this run would be like killing off Jason Todd in Scott Snyder's run - they don't appear enough in a significant enough way to make the death feel satisfying (not that I'm ever really into character deaths in general).

    I'd been wanting to read Englehart for a while, so I'm very glad I did, even if it's not going to be my favorite.
    "We're the same thing, you and I. We're both lies that eventually became the truth." Lara Notsil, Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, Aaron Allston
    "All that is not eternal is eternally out of date." C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
    "There's room in our line of work for hope, too." Stephanie Brown
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  11. #341
    Mighty Member Chubistian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millernumber1 View Post
    I do love Alfred in King's run, but I agree - he's not built up enough for his death to be earned by King. Obviously, he's an amazing character, but killing him off in this run would be like killing off Jason Todd in Scott Snyder's run - they don't appear enough in a significant enough way to make the death feel satisfying (not that I'm ever really into character deaths in general).

    I'd been wanting to read Englehart for a while, so I'm very glad I did, even if it's not going to be my favorite.
    I agree about Alfred and deaths in comicbooks, at least when it comes to the big two, when most of the time we know this characters are going to be back sooner or later. Kudos to King for rolling with the change of direction and giving it a closure in the run instead of leaving it hanging (I know that a one-shot, Alfred RIP, was released, but I think Bruce overcame the death in City of Bane and more mourning wasn't necessary, though I guess the rest of the Batfamily had to deal with it in a special issue)
    "The Batman is Gotham City. I will watch him. Study him. And when I know him and why he does not kill, I will know this city. And then Gotham will be MINE!"-BANE

    "We're monsters, buddy. Plain and simple. I don't dress it up with fancy names like mutant or post-human; men were born crueler than Apes and we were born crueler than men. It's just the natural order of things"-ULTIMATE SABRETOOTH

  12. #342
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    I know we’re not there yet but Alfred’s death, while handled beautifully in #83, just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it was because I’ve gotten jaded over deaths in comic books, especially of more iconic characters, since they’re gonna come back. Maybe it’s the fact that it was meant to be a fake out but DC forced King to make it “permanent”. I don’t know. That being said, again, #83 did a great job handling it. I’ve never seen Bruce this hopeless before. Not even in Infinite Crisis. It’s always hard to see Batman losing hope. That’s like watching a god bleed. It fits with what King is exploring with him: changing pain to hope, which they don’t make subtle in that issue. But, all in all, like in most cases, it’s just a way to get sales to go up, sacrificing a writer’s planned story.

  13. #343
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBarnhill View Post
    I know we’re not there yet but Alfred’s death, while handled beautifully in #83, just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it was because I’ve gotten jaded over deaths in comic books, especially of more iconic characters, since they’re gonna come back. Maybe it’s the fact that it was meant to be a fake out but DC forced King to make it “permanent”. I don’t know. That being said, again, #83 did a great job handling it. I’ve never seen Bruce this hopeless before. Not even in Infinite Crisis. It’s always hard to see Batman losing hope. That’s like watching a god bleed. It fits with what King is exploring with him: changing pain to hope, which they don’t make subtle in that issue. But, all in all, like in most cases, it’s just a way to get sales to go up, sacrificing a writer’s planned story.
    Great comments for when we get to City of Bane! I think DC is desperate for sales right now, because they don't have a vision of the future, or any stability (as evidenced by the way they keep changing their minds about really huge plans). (deleting my own rant about frustration that has nothing to do with Tom King Batman. )
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    I'll just hit a couple points in Fall and Fallen before we jump into CoB.

    * I despise the second issue's "previously" premise. Not one of Barbara Gordon (Oracle herself!), her father the Commissioner, Tim "with enough tech I can combat all crime" Drake, or Damian Wayne - grandson of the Demon, raised to take over the League of Assassins, trained by Talia al Ghul, Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne, and a host of others - could find a single sliver of a hint that Bane was not comatose, had taken over Arkham, and was seconds away from suborning the city's infrastructure and gov't. Because The Riddler is helping him? I'll use this spot to also scoff at him reprogramming Skeets, because why not. The post-wedding, pre-nightmares issues made a convincing argument for Bruce's isolation and descent into sorrow, and I assume this was supposed to be more of the same, but unlike the previous issues, this plot point comes at the expense of established characters who are supposed to be the cream of the crop. It's minor in the grand arc of the story, but I had to get that off my chest.

    * For a run this long, I thought the "Thomas narrates to Bane all the things Bane did" commentary during the battle was worthwhile. It obviously highlights how omniscient Bane is (well, until CoB, which we'll get to later). I find that level of planning implausible, to an extent, but the real flaw in it is the way Bane's plan falls apart later. It does tie in all the parts of the story that were necessary, and is a good basis for a re-read such as this so we can talk about the parts of the plan that matter.

    * The two parts in the desert were really enjoyable. They highlighted Thomas's POV and endgame quite well, as well as letting Bruce articulate why Thomas would fail. My one line guess of what King thinks about Batman as explicated in this run would be "Batman is a suicide wish, but he's also the hope for a better future."

    Are we going to take a couple weeks for CoB? If so, take it all at once over two weeks or split it into a couple pieces (75-79, 80-85)?
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  15. #345
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob.schoonover View Post
    I'll just hit a couple points in Fall and Fallen before we jump into CoB.

    * I despise the second issue's "previously" premise. Not one of Barbara Gordon (Oracle herself!), her father the Commissioner, Tim "with enough tech I can combat all crime" Drake, or Damian Wayne - grandson of the Demon, raised to take over the League of Assassins, trained by Talia al Ghul, Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne, and a host of others - could find a single sliver of a hint that Bane was not comatose, had taken over Arkham, and was seconds away from suborning the city's infrastructure and gov't. Because The Riddler is helping him? I'll use this spot to also scoff at him reprogramming Skeets, because why not. The post-wedding, pre-nightmares issues made a convincing argument for Bruce's isolation and descent into sorrow, and I assume this was supposed to be more of the same, but unlike the previous issues, this plot point comes at the expense of established characters who are supposed to be the cream of the crop. It's minor in the grand arc of the story, but I had to get that off my chest.

    * For a run this long, I thought the "Thomas narrates to Bane all the things Bane did" commentary during the battle was worthwhile. It obviously highlights how omniscient Bane is (well, until CoB, which we'll get to later). I find that level of planning implausible, to an extent, but the real flaw in it is the way Bane's plan falls apart later. It does tie in all the parts of the story that were necessary, and is a good basis for a re-read such as this so we can talk about the parts of the plan that matter.

    * The two parts in the desert were really enjoyable. They highlighted Thomas's POV and endgame quite well, as well as letting Bruce articulate why Thomas would fail. My one line guess of what King thinks about Batman as explicated in this run would be "Batman is a suicide wish, but he's also the hope for a better future."

    Are we going to take a couple weeks for CoB? If so, take it all at once over two weeks or split it into a couple pieces (75-79, 80-85)?
    I don't so much mind the aspersions cast upon the Batfamily, as I find Bane's ability to spend months sitting on a throne of skulls directing the underworld with no one at all, including Batman, finding out. The Skeets thing doesn't seem as big a deal, but that's partly because I just don't know much about Booster.

    The "all according to keikakku" or however you spell it is classic Tom King, but even though it doesn't bother me, it does highlight why I think 85 or 100 issues are too long for this kind of plot.

    The last issue, #74, is particularly powerful. When the two Batmen are fighting, and then one of them Rises...it's really good stuff.

    And, of course, I'm Still Here.
    "We're the same thing, you and I. We're both lies that eventually became the truth." Lara Notsil, Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, Aaron Allston
    "All that is not eternal is eternally out of date." C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
    "There's room in our line of work for hope, too." Stephanie Brown
    Stephanie Brown Wiki, My Batman Universe Reviews, Stephanie Brown Discord

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