Written by Tom King
Art by Lee Weeks
Colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letters by Clayton Cowles
The arguments are concluded. The prosecution has put on its case. The defense has rested and the People vs Victor Fries is in the hands of the jury. A jury that consists of the man who captured him in the first place, Bruce Wayne. In a twist that can only be pulled off by great writing, Bruce Wayne finds himself passionately defending Mr. Freeze and his final argument to his fellow jurors is brilliant, heartfelt, tragic and personal. Bruce takes his own actions as Batman to task in this issue and it is a brilliant exercise in catharsis and self-reflection.
Ultimately, Bruce has to make the argument to a group of people who believe in Batman for their own personal reasons that their belief is misplaced. It is a great, real moment where we learn more about Bruce as a child, especially his faith. It’s an aspect of the character that is usually never dealt with and to see Bruce use that revelation to coerce a juror of faith to utilize that faith in her deliberations is a great moment. Bruce, in his own way, bares his soul for the people in front of him in a way that he never could in his other life and possibly not even to the people closest to him.
King does a great job of bringing humanity to Bruce and giving the reader multiple sides of this enduring character. Both the tragedy of Bruce’s past and his present are laid out in this issue and Bruce lays out some bitter truths about the Batman and, by extension, himself. It’s an amazing exercise in storytelling for a character this rooted in his mission. It’s an insight into the mythology of the Batman and how that mythology has built its own belief system among the people of Gotham. It’s a brilliant piece of storytelling.
Weeks did a phenomenal job on the art in this issue. Even though the story continues to take place in a jury room, you never feel trapped in the room, especially because the seamless blend of art and story allows the reader to move beyond those walls and see the bigger picture Bruce is trying to create. The final panel of this issue is absolutely gorgeous and evocative of a change in both Bruce and Batman.