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King & Weeks Finally Gave Us the Real Dark Knight in Batman #51

WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Batman #51, Tom King, Lee Weeks, and Elizabeth Breitweiser, on sale now.

In realm of fiction, Batman is often considered to be the world’s greatest detective. Sure, one could argue Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirnot or Lisbeth Salander could easily be saddled with the same superlative, but Bruce Wayne has something none of the aforementioned characters possess despite their analytical prowess: money. Lots and lots of money. And while personal wealth does not necessarily make for a better detective, it does give them unlimited resources non-billionaire, playboy, philanthropic detectives often do not have at their disposal.

Batman, however, is at his most interesting when his money is stripped away, or, at the very least, subverted in some way. Strip Bruce Wayne of all his inherited wealth and he is still a brilliant man. Of course his money had a hand in him reaching the ridiculous level to which he has honed his skillset, but the raw talent is there, and it always has been.

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Batman comics don't dive into the analytical aspect of the character often enough. For every Batman story where he actually conducts detective work, there are a dozen stories in which he’s fighting some monster in the streets of Gotham or going to space for any number of reasons his membership in the Justice League warrant. For the past few years, however, we’ve seen Batman have his black-clad barriers knocked down some. Tom King has made a habit out of trying to show an aspect of the hero we’ve been exposed to for nearly a century seem fresh and exciting.

Recently, under the scribe’s guiding hand, Bruce Wayne experienced a bit of a wedding kerfuffle, which was presented in an earnest manner that is rarely seen in wedding issues of comic books. And before this, King had the Dark Knight take a backseat while the relationship between two of his greatest foes, the Joker and the Riddler, was explored in a tale that almost read like a lost Elmore Leonard novel. In both of these stories, the fact that Bruce Wayne is a billionaire (and a superhero to some degree) is down-played, and the more naturalistic elements of Batman’s universe are left to flourish.

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With the help of legendary artist Lee Weeks (Daredevil, Detective Comics), King keeps his analytical eye on the ball in Batman #51 by examining how the Caped Crusader’s detective work and interrogation methods might cause as much harm as they do good. After Batman lands Mr. Freeze a trial for the murder of three young women, Bruce Wayne gets called up for jury duty.

And here's where things get really interesting.

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