Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P. #1 by James Tynion IV and Peter J. Tomasi - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: Alfred Pennyworth served the Wayne family for decades-even through the tragic loss of Bruce Wayne’s parents. His death at the hands of Bane is the only event that could possibly compare to that fateful night in Crime Alley, and it leaves Bruce at a similar crossroads. If Alfred was the glue that held the Bat-Family together, how will Batman deal with that all falling apart? And if the Caped Crusader is to be truly alone, he might either hang that cape up once and for all…or double down and carry on with this vengeful quest forever. Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P. #1 celebrates the life of one of the most important people in the history of Gotham City, while also addressing questions about what’s next.

When Bane killed Alfred Pennyworth, it left a whole in the middle of the Bat Family, one that might be impossible to fill. James Tynion IV and Peter J. Tomasiuse Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P. #1 to look at the immediate effects of Alfred's death, and it also serves as a wake of sorts for Bruce Wayne's butler and fill-in parent.

The issue opens with the gang gathering for the dedication of a children's hospital that has been built and dedicated in Alfred's honor. Following the ceremony, the group decides to meet together and talk about Alfred. They find a sleazy dive bar in a rotten neighborhood and have it all too themselves. With typical arguing and angst, the various Bat Family members offer a toast to Alfred with a memory of an impact he had on their lives. We hear from Damian Wayne, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, Dick (Ric) Grayson, and Bruce Wayne. Together, their stories serve as a touching tribute to one of the oldest and most enduring characters in DC Comics history, let alone in the Batman books.

Alfred Pennyworth is often seen/referred to as the "glue" that holds the Bat Family together, and he served as Bruce Wayne's parent following the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne. He has been a steady influence in the lives of the various members of the family, and has seen them through thick and thin. Tynion and Tomasi do a wonderful job of capturing the spirit and heart of Alfred Pennyworth, as well as the individual voices of the people he spent his life with. Additionally, it seems as if the artwork for each toast was reminiscent of the style during which each memory took place, reflecting again on just how far reaching Alfred's reach was. He will be missed, and I'm very curious to see just how he will be "replaced" (for lack of a better word), and how Bruce and the rest will adjust and deal with his absence. Also, I wonder if Alfred will remain dead, or if he will be brought back to serve another story at a later date. I know this is a tradition in comics, but it bears mentioning considering the impact Alfred Pennyworth's death has on Batman and company.

I highly recommend Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P. by James Tynion IV and Peter J. Tomasi. It is an emotional and heartfelt story honoring a beloved character. This is a must read for Batman fans.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

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