Things have never been worse for Batman than they are in "City of Bane," currently unfolding in the pages of DC Comics. But even with his body broken along with his spirit, and his heart, and his confidence, Bruce Wayne has yet to lose the one thing that matters most: his undisputed title as the hands-down sexiest superhero in comics.
Technically, the one thing still getting him through to the end of writer Tom King's run is Catwoman, who has finally accepted there's just no way to ignore the perfection that is Bruce Wayne. So while Bruce and Selina use their aptly titled "interlude" in Batman #78 and #79 to reconnect on an emotional (and thankfully physical) level, artists Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey have taken it upon themselves to bolster Bruce's spirits in their own way. In short, to remind Selina and the entire world that no other comic book beefcake has ever, could ever, nor will ever hold a candle to the Bat.
It's understandable for fans to place Gotham City's well-being over Bruce and Selina's (or the audience's) happiness. Some might even worry about the citizens of Gotham so intensely, they could somehow abstain from indulging in the veritable buffet of sculpted muscle and short shorts carefully crafted by Batman's artists. Complete with a pair of thighs guaranteed to make even Nightwing weep (but where do you think he gets it?).
After including a 'ROBIN-1' license plate in Heroes in Crisis #1, it's about time Clay Mann got to embrace the Magnum P.I. brand, remaking "Matches Malone" with an attention to the human body that would make even Selleck himself flush. But really, that's exactly who and what Bruce Wayne should be. Yet only movie adaptations have gotten the chance to impress audiences with the physique, stature, style, and billionaire-brooding Bruce Wayne must exude as second nature. Sure, it may be the least conspicuous disguise imaginable. But then, Mann and Morey's work isn't for the eyes of those on the page.
There may come a day, and it may come soon, when the price to be paid for defeating Bane and reclaiming Gotham will be too high to comprehend. Even though fans have a 12-issue Batman/Catwoman series to follow Tom King's final issue in Batman #85, the version of Bruce and Selina set to star in it are still a complete unknown. By then, Bruce Wayne's days of one-armed push-ups, kayaking, tree trunk legs, and a chiseled eight-pack may be permanently finished. We advise readers (or 'lookers') soak it up now.
DC readers may never be able to properly thank Tom King for his contributions to the Batman mythos, given how mired in painful, difficult emotions his best moments have turned out to be. But he can easily be thanked for setting Bruce's recuperation on a beach, giving Mann and Morey the tools needed to deliver work that shall stand the test of time. Ten years hence--twenty, thirty--fans may not recall how or why Batman was left standing at the altar. But they'll never forget Matches Malone On Vacation, though his time on the page, like his bottoms, may be cut so very short.
- BATMAN #79 (2019)
- Written by: Tom King
- Art by: Clay Mann
- Pecs by: Clay Mann
- Abs by: Clay Mann
- Arms by: Clay Mann
- Legs by: Clay Mann
- Colors by: Tomeu Morey
- In the concluding chapter of the two-part “City of Bane” interlude, Batman and Catwoman pull a job to stop Bane’s supply ship from smuggling dangerous cargo into Gotham City. It’ll send a message back to the big guy that his reign of terror is soon to be over”¦but what does it also signal for the future of Bruce and Selina?
Batman #79 is available now from your local comic book shop, or direct from DC Comics.