Convicted of the crimes his father committed and born into an island prison with no hope of parole, a nameless child became forged into a man called Bane. In time, Bane would free himself and his few friends from the prison that was the only home he had ever known. He would also go on to pit himself against The Batman and win!
Recently, Bane returned to the hell on Earth that is Santa Prisca and conquered it. Ruling the nation with an iron fist, the prison is now his fortress and the prisoners his army. Batman would be content to let Bane have his little kingdom but for one problem…Bane has captured someone Batman needs to rescue.
To get them out, Batman has forged a reluctant alliance with Task Force X coordinator Amanda Waller, using her influence to build his own version of The Suicide Squad from the craziest, deadliest and most dangerous inmates in Arkham Asylum. Among them is Catwoman, currently awaiting execution for 237 counts of murder!
Now, as Batman faces one of his most cunning and strongest enemies on his own turf, he must keep control of a volatile group of unstable personalities. He must also uncover what drove the only woman who has ever truly understood him to such extremes and the secret Selina Kyle has hidden from even him.
I Am Suicide is a brilliant story on multiple levels. As a heist adventure, it is superb. As a character comparison of Bane and Batman, it is brilliant. As a historical work intended to reinsert the classic Batman tale Knightfall into the current continuity of DC Rebirth, it is successful. And as a reinvention of the classic “will they/won’t they” romance of Batman and Catwoman, it is wonderful beyond words. It is also, because Tom King hadn’t accomplished enough with this story, truly, painfully funny at times. And not just because of the running gag involving Kite Man.
The artwork in this volume is simply gorgeous, with several talented artists at work. The “I Am Suicide” portion of the book is gracefully handled by Mikel Janin. Detail driven and heavily shaded, Janin’s style is a perfect match for depicting the gritty world of Santa Prisca. Janin also draws fantastic action sequences and the tension of King’s script is fully translated by Janin’s pencils. The colors of June Chung are also noteworthy, with Chung using dominant colors to tint certain locales, with muted whites for Arkham Asylum and burnt oranges for Bane’s throne room.
By contrast, the artwork of Mitch Gerads—who handles the final two chapters of the book—is largely rendered in dark blues and blacks.The largest exception to this is the action panels, which are rendered without any background save a solid red fill. This suits the tale King calls ‘Rooftops’, which is all about Batman and Catwoman discussing their relationship across one long night. It also reaffirms just which of Selina Kyle’s many backgrounds is the official one in the Rebirth reality.
This volume is rated 12+ but I would honestly consider it more appropriate for older teens. There’s a fair amount of violence and a sex-scene between Batman and Catwoman, but there’s no nudity apart from Catwoman’s uncovered hip in one splash-page. The chief problem, however, is some of the psychosis on display and some of the disturbing imagery involving the flashback’s to Bane’s childhood, including his dead mother, that may be a bit much for more sensitive souls.
Batman, vol. 2: I am Suicide
by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin, Mitch Garads, and June Chung
DC Comics, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 12+