And Catwoman #1. Yes, there are SPOILERS.
Batman #50 is finally out and, even though it was (mostly) spoiled in The New York Times on Sunday, I’ve chosen to wait until the appointed time to address it.
Seems only fair. It went on sale at midnight and is now widely available, so here are 13 QUICK THOUGHTS about the issue and its immediate follow-up, Catwoman #1.
If you don’t want to be spoiled, you still have a chance to turn back now because I’m getting into the nitty-gritty right underneath this main cover by Mikel Janin:
1. So they didn’t get hitched. I’m not all that surprised. I figured it was a 50-50 venture anyway. I am, however, disappointed because I think reading an ongoing run about a married Batman would be fascinating.
2. That’s not to give short shrift to Catwoman, though. She’s one of my absolute favorites and I think she’s been wonderfully written by Tom King. She’s been an equal partner in all this but Batman is the marquee character in this equation.
3. I was, however, genuinely taken aback by the gut-punch ending, which revealed the story’s real twist – that this was all manipulated by Bane, in concert with the Joker and the rest of the villains you see on the final page.
4. Including Holly. Oh, boy, when Selina finds out…
5. The other thing that occurred to me is that there’s nothing to prevent Bruce and Selina from getting married down the line. He never gets a chance to plead his case with her, y’know? And King and co. did give us a glimpse into their potential future in Batman Annual #2, which, by the way, will be included in all sorts of Greatest Batman Stories collections as the years go on.
6. King himself pointed out on Twitter this week that we’re only at halftime:
Batman 50 is not the end. This is a 100 issue story documenting and celebrating the love of Batman and Catwoman. Whatever happens, whatever anyone says, nothing’s going to spoil that. pic.twitter.com/Crm5t0CKcI
— Tom King (@TomKingTK) July 2, 2018
7. So, how was the actual story? It was very good, though a little heavy-handed at times. As I’ve noted a number of times now, King has a remarkable grasp on how Bruce and Selina work together. This has been a love story for the ages and this issue, like several we’ve seen so far in this run, pays direct tribute to so much of what has come before.
8. It was also one of the prettiest comics I’ve seen this year. Much has been made of the number of artists on the book and it was all handled rather organically with sequential pages mixed in with the splashes.
9. Mikel Janin and June Chung’s primary sequences were gorgeous, with the highlight being the moment Bruce and Selina saw each other before the ceremony. Which, of course, was a big BAD OMEN.
10. Some of my favorite splashes? Those by Jose-Luis Garcia Lopez and Trish Mulvihill; Becky Cloonan; Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson; Neal Adams and Hi-Fi; Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts; Andy Kubert and Alex Sinclair; Mitch Gerads; Lee Weeks; and Joelle Jones and Jordie Bellaire. (Click here for a gallery.)
11. Speaking of Jones, her Catwoman #1, which picks up soon after Batman #50, was excellent. Selina has moved to Villa Hermosa, a place that may or may not be in the United States. It has its own governor and both English and Spanish are spoken there. (Mahjong’s also popular, it seems.) The point is it’s very far from Gotham. It feels like a pastiche of Tijuana, California, Puerto Rico and, I don’t know, Hong Kong? With a crazy scary new villain. I’ll definitely visit again.
12. Best moment in Batman #50? Bruce and Alfred’s hug. I got all misty-eyed. Going into all this, I didn’t buy the idea that Superman would be Batman’s best man. I thought it should be Dick Grayson all the way. But King made his case for Alfred in that one panel.
13. OK, raise your hand: What Batman would you rather read: Single Batman, Married Batman — or Divorced Batman?
— The 13 Coolest BATMAN #50 Variant Covers. Click here.
— Tom King is Writing a BATMAN Love Story For the Ages. Click here.