Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus, June Chung
I Am Suicide part 4 opens up with Batman in a badass running stance being taunted by Bane, who says that he is in his throne room at the center of the prison with Psycho Pirate. Bane invites Batman to take Psycho Pirate from him. This opening panel shows a badass Batman drawn beautifully, who looks ready to make his way through anyone and anything to get to what he wants. This confused me a little because he put this team together to try and get in tactically, but here they are just running in guns blazing (or in Batman’s case, fists pounding)
Aside from the invitation from Bane, we are also treated to a letter that Batman is writing to Selina as she is being transferred from Blackgate to Arkham, She’s being transferred because she was being problematic and violent before Batman assembled the team. He seems to be writing this letter because visiting her in her current state wouldn’t help her progress and they wouldn’t talk, just fight.
Batman then goes on to tell Selina how his parents would just laugh if they knew what he had become(the Bat-Man). He mentions that his parents have a right to laugh at him, along with everyone else. Bats starts to go on a tangent about how he knows what people really see: A grown man, dressed like a bat, taking on crime hoping that if he punches hard enough the crime willl go away. While we are reading this letter to Selina, we are shown some incredible panels of Batman taking on Bane’s prison guards. The art here is amazing. The detail on everything from Batman’s boot heels, to Batman climbing up the prison wall, to the angles of the rooms and fight scenes: B-E-A-UETIFUL. Love it.
Batman continues in his letter that he is really just the same kid who watched his parents get shot and instead of mourning them properly, he took up a vow to spending the rest of his life going to war with all criminals. He puts himself down saying how sad, stupid, and immature it is and so on and so forth. He wants to laugh but he doesn’t because he thinks of Selina, who he starts to relate to because she knows what all this is about. He even goes on to say how when he was ten he put one of his father’s razor blades to his wrist. This part just confused me. Bats mentions blood on his hands and looking up to his parents and telling them he was sorry. Then he started to pray and no one answered which is when he understood and surrendered. Then and there he took the vow to avenge his parents death. This was probably the most confusing part of the letter to be honest. It connects to the next page where he claims that’s what him being Batman is all about: It’s the choice of a boy, the choice to die. He is Batman. He is suicide. I’m confused still.
When Batman claims in his letter that he is suicide, we see a full page spread of an aerial shot of him kneeling on the ground surrounded by all the prison guards he just took out, which is great. Still a little puzzled as to why he needed the team, but hopefully we will get some answers. But not until we get through four more pages of Batman going on (in his letter, of course) about how Selina knows, she made that choice, when they kiss the pain goes away because for a moment they share their deaths and they don’t die alone. Very deep dark confusing stuff that I don’t really see Batman saying, to be honest. Maybe something along these lines but the way it’s all said, how he agrees with how people see him?? I don’t see Batman thinking that way. Ever. Even if he did just lost another Robin.
We see the next phrases of the letter as Batman is entering the middle of the prison, he fights off a few more guards and then finds Bane, Catwoman and Psycho Pirate waiting for him. In the last few phrases of the letter Batman talks about Catwoman killing 237 people out of vengeance for the orphanage she grew up in. He writes that he thinks Catwoman is a fraud, but he had to lock her up because he couldn’t find the truth(I think he’s talking about evidence of someone else committing those murders and her taking the blame for them maybe?). And that he will free her because she told a lie and he took a vow to always find the truth.
Now Bane tells Batman he has been betrayed and defeated (or has he?? Is Catwoman for real??? Or is she just playing????) Then BOOM, last full page splash of Bane on his skull throne (great art, once again) with Catwoman on his arm, Psycho Pirate by his side and Batman on the ground in front of them. The last phrases of the letter state Batman will free Catwoman and, when he does, they will put on their masks and laugh and laugh. This brings everything in the letter full circle, even though I’m still confused. Bane says in this last and final panel, “...What next Batman?”
As much as I’ve been enjoying the I Am Suicide story arc, this issue threw me off in a couple of ways. (One) Why did Batman put together a team to get into this prison when, in the end, he just ends up storming the gates? (Unless this is all part of his master plan which, in that case, well done??) (Two) This letter we are reading that Batman is writing to Selina/Catwoman just doesn’t seem like Batman. Then there is the art, which was the best part of this issue. The attention to detail is fantastic and the color fit the tone of the issue very well. The panels where Batman is going through the prison have more grey tones and when he gets to Bane’s throne room it’s more of a blood red tone with this grittiness to it that, to me, looks perfect. Hopefully the story wins me back next issue.