Subway Shorts – Batman 53

The wheels of justice hit an ice patch as Bruce Wayne’s time on a jury comes to an end and the fate of Mr. Freeze hangs in the balance.

Batman 53
Written by Tom King 
Pencils and Inks by Lee Weeks 
Colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser

Tom King’s run on Batman, while pretty popular with most people, has been hit or miss with me. There have been some really great issues and there have been some arcs that just left me wondering why I bothered reading them. The three-issue arc that wraps up here, though, is right up there with some of my favorite issues of the year.

As good as I’ve thought issue 51 and 52 have been, the arc’s ultimate chapter just ensured that the story was a home run.

Bruce Wayne is on a mission here, planting seeds of doubt in the other 11 jurors of whether Mr. Freeze is guilty. He finally plays the ace up his sleeve, causing the jurors to doubt their faith in the man who brought Freeze in: Batman. Relating the Caped Crusader to God, Wayne opens up to the others and tells them about the troubles he’s experienced – from his parents’ murder to finding and losing love. He explains to his peers that Batman saved him, just like Batman saved everyone in that jury room at one time or another. But he’s come to realize that Batman is not infallible. He may be better than most, but he’s still just a man. And King gives us maybe one of the best lines of his run in Bruce’s monologue.

Bruce is vulnerable here, probably more vulnerable with these jurors than he’s been with anyone else. He’s still hurting from Catwoman leaving him at the ALTAR. His mission while serving on the juror was to right the possible wrong that came from his emotions getting the better of him while capturing Freeze. While he talks to the rest of the jury, the reader comes to understand that Freeze’s arrest was part of a larger scheme, setting Freeze up to force Batman to doubt himself. And when Batman makes a mistake, Bruce Wayne swoops in using his super-power – lots of money – to save the day.

It may not have been entirely legal, but neither is being a vigilante…

I want more stories like this one. King was on fire with this story, showing a side of Bruce Wayne we rarely get to see, hurting over the end of his relationship with Selina Kyle. Bruce had happiness within his reach, and then it was taken away with no explanation. For a guy who’s worth billions of dollars and beats people up at night dressed like a bat, this is something that most anyone can relate to. It’s a nice change of pace from what we usually get in a Batman book.