God, I just want to lap up Mikel Janin's artwork like a silky pudding.
AHEM, the tenth issue of Batman, the second part of "I Am Suicide" may not pack the punch of issue nine, but Janin's work absolutely radiates off the page; his work on Grayson was absolutely stunning, as his work with not just physical aesthetics, but also with believable physics elevate his pencils to another level.
Checking in on the story, Batman is making an all-out assault on Santa Prisca with his Bat Plane (confession - no idea what to call this vehicle. It looks rad as hell, but plane? Bat Wing? Glider? Rocket?), entering into Bane's airspace grousing a threatening explanation of his mission and what he'll do to Bane if the swarthy supervillain isn't helpful.
I loved the single-minded determination of Batman in these sequences, rendered in an impeccable scowl by Janin and how he freaked out Bane's pilots, who were assigned to take out the Bat Aircraft. Naturally, Batman doesn't give a f*** and ends up on the shore, staring down the barrel of a contingent of angry Bane followers.
Again, Batman growls the same line from the dog fight and just plows into this horde. The funny thing is, he's holding his own for a while, Janin rendering that powerful scowl with every blow struck. This is a good time to add that Janin REALLY does a great job with Greg Capullo's redesigned Bat Suit - the cape, which attaches at the shoulders, seems to obey the laws of physics in a believable way. The utility belt isn't exaggeratedly large, or hiked up awkwardly along the hips. The gloves are less gauntlets and more tools for punching. And that cowl -- that cowl! -- is something that Janin is doing better than ANYONE has ever done on this character before.
We also have to give King some credit during this run, and during the confrontation between Bane and Batman - he's showing a new side of Bane that enhances the qualities he had aside from mainlining Venom. Bane is cruel here, calculating, articulate and convicted in his actions. He carries himself as superior to everyone, even Batman. This is a terrifying version that I'm glad is here.
The issue continues with a shocking fight scene between the two titans, and a strange Batman-in-a-cell moment that left many readers scratching their heads. My problem with the Batman escaping his prison (bc let's be honest, that's what Batman does) is that he should be crumpled and bleeding from the harsh landing, being ganged-up-on by the Santa Priscans, and then Bane roughing him up. Instead, he summons all his Batmaniness and overcomes, which is a bit cliched at this point, but that's just who the character is. May as well complain when the Flash can perceive things in slow motion during his own hyper-speed, or that Superman can f*** up a planet at full power.
Anywho, this is a nice book that progresses the plot well, and we get Mikel Janin fulfilling all the promise that arose when it was first announced he'd be drawing Batman. King shows a deft touch with these characters, showing a unique side to them (I won't spoil the narrator identity - it's surprising after hearing how bloody that person's revenge was, how merciless. King makes you think it's one person and it ends up being another better than most in sequential art).