Written by Tom King
Art by A Ton Of People
Since Rebirth kicked off at DC, writer Tom King has helmed the grim ship Batman, bobbing in the rough waters of Gotham harbor, often threatening to capsize under the weight of its own gravitas. King’s Bat is a question of can Bruce Wayne ever be happy or is he truly the human version of misery for all time. Twice monthly Batman has (to this reviewer at least) been an exercise in frustration. Building slowly to this big 5-0 issue and the “wedding” of the year between Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne. What really happens in this issue is all set-up for the next fifty chapters…
First, I cannot spoil this extra-sized Kingly Batness for those of you who might not have read it yet, so read it and come back. [PAUSE] OK. Well, I still will not spoil the major plot points such as they are in this comic, but I will draw attention to the elements that make this both one of the better Bat issues, and yet again, reasons why I have so much trouble as a fan reading this run.
Tom King has a murderer’s row of talent drawing, coloring, and lettering this story. Everyone is represented in a comic that is structurally presented in a creative manner. With what turns out to be letters written to and by both Bat/Cat as a framing device, there is a lot of romantic, flowery language (I liked the writing here for the most part) tossed about over amazing visuals from Joelle Jones, Frank Miller, Mitch Gerads, Tony S. Daniel, Jim Lee, Becky Cloonan, Greg Capullo, Lee Weeks, the names go on and on and on, that give us another look back (is this the, what, third time now King has delivered a courtship history lesson?) on the Bat/Cat romance. These full size page images are stunning. The art is worth checking out for sure. So many callbacks to King’s forty-nine previous issues (yes, Kite Man is here too) and Bat-lore – it’s really pretty fun to play spot the reference!
The other part of this issue is the actual lead up to the “wedding”. Here is where the issue feels off and like a typical issue of Batman as of late. MEH…not that fun to read or look at and THAT ENDING…I wish I was spoiling this because the final page calls into question many things…mostly ideas I cannot stand…why is Flashpoint Batman in the scene? (I wont say too much more except NOOOOOOO).
It’s clear to me that Tom King has a strong vision for his tale of Batman. I’m not sure his execution is always landing, or if I’ll ever connect with his thesis on Batman for that matter, but at least – with annuals and specials like this issue – the art of Bats has never been so good, and at least we’re all still talking about Batman.
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