The Best Fight in Comics is in Batman #86 -- And It's All Off-Panel!

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Batman 86 2020

It feels like it's been forever in the offing, but BATMAN #86 is a breath of fresh air after the prolonged storyline that bogged down the title for the past few years.

With his longtime confidante and manservant, Alfred Pennyworth, having been laid to rest, Bruce Wayne decides to take on a new mission to honor his friend, a mission presented to him on many past occasions and always turned down: a Gotham that didn't need Batman. To that end, Bruce has dusted of his plans for a revamp of the city and fast-tracked them through all the zoning commissions. With construction already underway, however, there are forces out there that want to see their own plans for Gotham come to light.

As Batman tracks down a gathering of five ruthless killers, Selina Kyle profiles the guests at the latest Wayne fundraiser for the city's gentrification, locating a nervous partygoer and confronting him as Catwoman. But the pawn is under someone else's control, someone who knows Catwoman well -- enough to remind her of plans for the perfect crime that she was a part of envisioning; a plan that begins by bringing five killers to Gotham.

Sound familiar?

Among the five that Batman is pursuing is Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke. The battle scene here is one that shows the planning  Batman puts into his confrontations, as he tells Deathstroke that he's already captured the four other killers as they make their run for it -- and he's right, and it's ingenious. It's also intriguing to see Deathstroke and Batman "talk shop" over the methods and tools brought to bear in their one-on-one fight -- a fight that we break from only to come back when it's all over! Where most writers and artists would spend at least four pages of panels showing off martial arts strikes, blood sprays, and flying teeth, James Tynion IV and Tony S. Daniel allow the action to happen off panel, showing only the results, the damages to both men. And this omission makes the story so much greater.

Throw in the newer, more active role of Lucius Fox in Batman's life, some cutting-edge tech added to the arsenal, and the looming threat of The Joker, and you have the opening salvo of a Batman story that is going to have fans excited for Wednesdays again!

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0