This was a very tight book. It’s a perfect show for how Tom King can pack a literal punch behind a simple message.
The book begins with Thomas Wayne taking a swing at Batman – a nice solid POW to the jaw. From there the book turns back time as we go back through Thomas’s life and all the moments that led to the present. We see how he has lurked in the shadows through most of Tom King’s run, especially at key moments, and eventually we find him back in the Flashpoint timeline where we get some more bits of his history as a crime fighter. I especially like seeing here how Catwoman was Thomas’s sidekick in his timeline (don’t know if this was already established, but I was surprised by it). Time goes back further until we see Thomas at a young Bruce’s bedside as he sleeps, making a very familiar vow to protect his son by whatever means. With that we return to the present following Thomas’s punch, where he then urges Bruce to retire from being Batman and to enjoy a normal life.
It was soooo good. Tom King never fails to impress, and the way he spins a narrative is unlike most writers. It feels like seeing a poem, and the way he spun this one together was magical. Allegedly issue 85 is to be the last installment of this grand arc, but we’ll see. Either way I’m excited to see how it ends, because at this point I feel anything is possible, even what we least expect…
TL;DR Score: … Bruce might actually retire… maybe… nah, definitely not. He’s gotta avenge Alfred…. but maybe after?… The suspense might be getting to me.