Batman finally cracks a smile in the wake of losing Damian…
Cover & Pencils by Patrick Gleason
Written by Peter J Tomasi
Ink by Mick Gray
Beware of spoilers!
In the wake of the death of Damian in New 52 Batman Inc #8 Batman has been pretty miserable in this series which is to be expected but the loss of one of the titular characters has allowed this book to undergo a massive shakeup. So far Batman has teamed with Red Robin; Red Hood and Batgirl. Next month he finds himself teamed up with Nightwing but for now it’s Catwoman who takes centre stage.
Some criticism has been thrown at this arc for the way Batman has acted over recent issues in comparison to his relatively par-for-the-course behaviour in other titles but then idea of the Batman & _______ arc has been all about stages of grief and with Catwoman there is possibly (finally) some acceptance.
The Bat-family are still pretty torn apart by the events of the Death of the Family arc and so interactions between titular characters has been awkward at best and this was never more evident than in Batman & Batgirl. This month we dispense with a lot of that awkward atmosphere as Catwoman is not one to avoid the issues.
Where others have circled around Bruce and tried to break down the barriers it is he who goes to Catwoman when she calls upon him and he spares little time in decided to partner with her on this mission (NB there’s a little JLA action just to warm you up for Trinity War).
The storyline between Bruce and Carrie Kelly – marking her first canonical appearance in issue #19 – is a particular draw to this series. There are obvious comparisons that can be drawn to the character in The Dark Knight Returns but right now that is not a path which this story is following.
Her character is a similar kind of foil to Bruce as Catwoman is to Batman. She doesn’t take his misdirection and questions his defensive manner at every turn leading to some inventive but emotional methods from Bruce to deflect her questioning.
There’s a great contrast in the colours between the nighttime adventure with Catwoman and the daytime interactions with Carrie. The art is generally good although at times Bruce appears thuggish in comparison to the main Batman title and his jawline alters between several different panels when in costume.
Catwoman suffers some similar jawline issues but thankfully her jump from her town title to this hasn’t equated to an over-sexualising of her image just for the sake of adding readers. There’s a great continuity to the DC universe at present in that it’s characters can move freely between books without degradation to their personalities or their voices.
You’ll need to jump back to issue #19 in order to follow the grief storyline in it’s full form but as with previous issues there’s a nice, short and fully contained story here which is pretty enjoyable.