Warning: SPOILERS for Batman #80
Gotham City has been taken over by Bane, turning the metropolis into a nightmare for its citizens, with unleashed villains keeping order, and the Flashpoint Batman watching from the rooftops like a dark spirit. But after weeks spent recovering… Batman has finally come home.
Bruce Wayne makes his triumphant return in the pages of Batman #80, with the Batman having restored his strength and formulated a plan, and with Catwoman at his side as promised. Now fans know that--one way or another--the days of Gotham being known as the "City of Bane" are coming to an end. The only question now is how many more people will fall before Bane is defeated? Because based on the final cliffhanger of this issue, the death of Alfred Pennyworth may have just been the first casualty of his final revenge on the Batman family.
The fans have been kept in uneasy suspense for a few issues, as DC's Batman series approaches the final issues of King's time on the book. After Bane succeeded in breaking Batman (far worse than the time he cracked his back), and Bruce's Flashpoint father tried to resurrect his mother... it was time for a well-earned break. Catwoman gathered up what remained of Batman and headed off on a tropical interlude to reconnect. They did that and more, intercepting Bane's incoming shift of Venom--the first step of their plan to save Gotham. The next step? Sneak in as everyone's favorite Bat-disguise, "Matches" Malone.
The issue opens with Matches facing down both Professor Pyg and Two-Face, and Harvey Dent realizing the man's true identity just a few panels before the reader. As Catwoman and Batman pick their way through the streets, taking down Bane's criminal recruits one after another, Thomas Wayne knows that the fight he's been waiting for is finally beginning. Bruce is back, despite being warned that his entry into Gotham would carry grave consequences. It was that same law, written by Bane, that saw Alfred Pennyworth killed when Damian defied his order. But now it's Damian who has taken Alfred's place on the chopping block… setting the stage for a new standoff.
It's a standoff readers won't have to wait for, thankfully, as Bane immediately orders Thomas Wayne to kill Damian in response to Batman's return. After defeating his old enemy Hush, Batman answers the question posed by the villain, as well as readers everywhere: what happens next? Bruce offers his prediction as Thomas Wayne fulfills it step by step, taking up his gun, heading to Damian's holding cell, and realizing it will be him who decides the outcome of this "City of Bane" story, and not his son.
It's fitting that the story should come to such a head. Even if Bane isn't physically present in this chapter, his unwavering and brutal feud with Batman is. But it's the standoff between fathers and sons--and those they will defy to protect them--that will decide the ending. For now, fans can check out the solicitation details and plot synopsis for the issue below:
- BATMAN #80
- Written by: Tom King
- Art by: John Romita Jr.
- Inks by: Klaus Janson
- Colors by: Tomeu Morey
- The bad guys thought they had it made with Bane in control, but with Batman back in Gotham they’ll be reminded what justice feels like...and how it hurts when it hits you in the face. With Catwoman at his side, the Caped Crusader is looking to take down Bane’s army and reclaim his city. But what happens when old allies like Gotham Girl also stand in his way? The legendary art team of John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson join BATMAN for two action-packed issues that will rock Gotham City to its foundation.
Batman #80 is available now from your local comic book shop, or direct from DC Comics.