Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Batman #49 Second Opinion


I Hear Wedding Bells

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mikel Janin, June Chung, Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: June 20, 2018
Review by: Dispatchdcu (read all his awesome reviews)


There are so many ways to take this issue and they all depend on how “you” like your Joker. This isn’t “tear your face off” Joker that Snyder gave us, or the “ wait til they get a load of me!” Batman 89 Joker, or even the Killing Joke version of him, which is referenced in this very issue.  This is Tom King’s take on the Joker. And, I personally think this entire issue gives us a new take on the character. Good or bad; you decide. I’ll give you my call at the end. Let’s take a read, OK.


The issue opens with Selena and Joker literally shooting the #%$&! Joker wants to know why Selena never laughed. Everyone else did but she never laughed. Selena goes into detail basically saying that she laughs when she wins and Batman always took that from her. She’d try to steal something and he’d ruin her plans. She’d always lose. They begin to attack each other and while Selena gets a good slice across Joker’s throat, he gets a shot off in her belly. Now keep in mind, during all of this, Batman is still knocked out from the blast.... and later we find poisoned too but I don’t remember that happening the last issue...

The rest of the issue takes place between Selena and Joker trying to stop themselves from bleeding out and chatting with each other in the process. Look at it as a time for them to get to know one another. They start off by discussing the quirks of some of the other Batman Rogues and Joker gets a good laugh while trying to get Selena to load his gun so he can shoot her in the face. 



I enjoyed the Joker humor there. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Snyder Joker. I like crazy Joker but not “I’m gonna eat your kids” crazy. I like horror movies where I don’t see the blood and gore. That’s why I love the first original Halloween movie. I HATE the movies that show the gross and grotesque (cough Rob Zombie movies) and that’s what Snyder’s Joker was to me. King’s take is twisted and funny. And Joker in his issue, the last, as well as his take in DC Nation were from a psychopath aimed at one goal; to make you laugh before you die. Why? Because in his warped opinion, if he can get you to do that, you go out on top and see the ultimate joke of all jokes in the end, which I’ll explain later.

For the first time since I can remember, a writer is giving us insight into the mind of the Joker. Some readers would say they want to know BUT don’t want anyone to tell that story. They would rather speculate but don’t want to ruin the allure. For example, for years people wanted to know Wolverines background. Well, we got it. Do you like it or would it have been better not knowing? Once the box is open, you can’t close it. Well, King is trying to give us “something” without giving us the entire backstory. He’s trying to show us what makes Joker tick. And he comes right out and tells us in this issue. 



He tells us his purpose. Joker’s philosophy is that life is the joke and death is the punchline. This tells me that Joker is not a spiritual man and believes that this is the only life we get. And to all of those that waste time believing in God, heaven, and hell, that’s the big joke in the end. Joker believes this is it and there is nothing after all of this.... and that’s the punchline or the ultimate joke. You don’t find that out until you die. Now, I personally don’t believe that nor am I telling anyone what to believe BUT I am telling you what it sounds like Joker believes to me. And this is a huge insight into the mind of THIS VERSION of the Joker. And honestly, I like it. This Joker is twisted, sadistic, kind of funny, and an obsessed psychopath in which I don’t get to see the gruesome details. I know they probably happen but they are out of sight and out of mind... just the way I want it. 

Selena and Joker continue talking while they try not to bleed out. Joker congratulates her on the wedding, they talk about her dress, and they talk about what the Riddler thinks of the Joker. Riddler thinks that the “Joker” is all an act. He thinks that the Joker knows exactly what he’s doing and does it for attention. So the next question is, is the Riddler right? And if so, can that Joker be the same one who believes what I just concluded about or is that part of the act? This one is tougher to answer. I find it hard to believe someone can act so well that they can kill dozens of people without remorse but that’s not really how they are. If that’s the case, Joker is the best actor EVER. So, I’d have to say that I do have a hard time trusting Mr. Sideburns and this one. But King did leave an opening to escape out the back if he wanted to at some point in the future. “Clever girl.”

Next, we go into another part I loved. Joker dives deep in with Selena and lets down his guard, emotionally. Joker doesn’t understand why Batman loved her more than any of the rest. She basically says it’s because she never obsessed over him. She got to know him. She didn’t overdo it, annoy, and press him over and over again like the rest of his Rogues did.  And this is true in all relationships. 



My brothers have always tried so hard to please my dad but not me. I figured I would build that relationship organically and naturally. It turns out many many (many) years later, my relationship is the strongest with him because I didn’t annoy, bother, pester and pick at him. I just let it happen. That’s basically what Selena is trying to tell Joker but Joker won’t listen. And honestly, my brothers didn’t listen to me either.

This part is where the issue gets really interesting to me. We find out something that I feel King has been hinting at with his take on Joker for a long time now.  King feels that his Joker loves Batman. Now, what type of love? That I don’t know. Is it like a brother or family member? Is it more romantic? I honestly don’t know. But, it is definitely laid out there that Joker loves Batman and he’s pissed that Catwoman can make Batman happier than him. So, I got the vibe that he partially set this all up to kill Selena in order to give Batman what he thinks he wants, which is to be sad... or as Selena says “to frown”.

Selena informs Joker that Batman never wanted to be sad. He wasn’t a depressed man looking to be more depressed. By not being obsessed with him, she got to know the man behind the mask and what he truly wanted; happiness. Joker, like someone madly and obsessively in love, hears only what he wants to hear and takes what Selena says as a declaration to kill all of Batman’s Rogues for him. This, in my opinion, WILL BE a future plot thread and an interesting one at that. I bet you all a bag of tots that this is a future arc for King within his next 50 issues.   Anyway, Joker starts to kind of see what Selena is saying and morphs it into everyone must die to make Batman happy. Then, it’s just Joker and Batman and they will be happy together forever. If I had to speculate on Joker’s love for Batman, I’d lean more “Cape Fear” love right now.... if that makes sense.



Joker continues to say how much he needs him. He needs him to be Batman. He’s concerned that if he’s happy then he will no longer be Batman anymore. To be honest, this is a concern for many reading the book. Joker has a legitimate concern that the public of readers continues to discuss. How can he continue to be Batman and be with Cat Woman? 

Let’s face it. As much as I am a fan of King’s run, something has been different about the character. Maybe it’s lack of focus? Maybe he needs to be lonely and unhappy in order to be at his best? But he has fallen for trap after trap in King’s run, has let people die (not on purpose but they have), and truthfully hasn’t been the smartest man in the room for a long time. Blame Selena or blame the writer... but either way, Batman has not been himself lately. And at this point, Joker kind of represents everyone questioning this marriage and the direction of this book.

So, Joker stands up to end this. He reloads his gun and gets ready to shoot Selena in the face. Just as he’s ready to do it, he passes out and collapses to the ground while we hear Batman coming to in the background being the idiot he’s been lately saying “he doesn’t know what Joker wanted but he didn’t get it.” And we get our last cool moment of the issue. We get the Killing Joke moment. Instead of Batman and Joker laughing in the rain, we get Selena losing Joker laughing hysterically. 

Personally, I loved this Joker. I love his banter. I love his personality. I even love his motivation. Some would argue that what they loved the most about Joker in the past was that he’s unpredictable and this would take away from his unpredictability. I would argue that you can be unpredictable and still have a reason for that unpredictability. Most people don’t become psychotic naturally. Something happens to send them down that path; nature or nurture.

Joker loves Batman and feels he wants to be miserable so he’s giving him what he wants. And by Batman never-ending him, Joker views it in his warped mind that Batman loves the misery too. It’s like a girl continuing to acknowledge the boy who has been pestering her daily for months.  The boy thinks she likes him when really she’s just being nice and talks to him once and a while. The only way it ends is for Batman to end it because the Joker never will. 



That said; I am not a fan of Batman right now. He is different. He is not as smart as I feel he once was and he acts so much more emotional than  I have ever seen him. King has definitely made him in touch with his emotions and that is starting to drive me nuts. If it’s not King focusing on his parents' death and it's effects on him then it’s King focusing on his feelings towards Selena. I’m starting to feel like Bruce‘s therapist. This Emo Batman needs to stop listening to the group Bright Eyes already and move on. This Batman is far from Metal, but don’t get me started there either.

The art as always was fantastic and the way King portrays Cat Woman is stunning. In my opinion, King is throwing touchdowns on the supporting cast but going 3 and out on the main character right now. It’s as if he forgot the book is called Batman!  I still enjoy the book but I’m not enjoying it as much for Batman as I am for everything else. And as a final side note, I used to think this marriage would last... but I’m not feeling it anymore. I am now under the belief that for Batman to go back to his roots, this thing needs to end and end terribly. I haven’t read solicits but this is the only way to get Batman back on track in my opinion. 

Don’t assume his thing ends well. King has put out false solicits in the past to throw us off and he could do it again, which I’m totally down with!!! As someone who hates reading solicits and doesn’t want to be spoiled, I love that he has done that in the past!!! I think that’s hilarious. Also, keep in mind Cat Woman is getting her own title. Why would she need her own book if she basically has her own book right now? I bet you all right now, she ends it sending Bruce in a downward spiral. 

If you like what you heard, love talking all types of comics, and are interested in joining a comic chat group, hit me up at dispatchdcu@gmail.com or @dispatchdcu on twitter. Catch you all later! Peace

Bits and Pieces:

Overall, you totally got to read this book. It’s a must read and King is still a great writer with an absolute amazing artist. The wedding should be great and I’m excited to see how it all plays out.

8/10

7 comments:

  1. "That said; I am not a fan of Batman right now. He is different. He is not as smart as I feel he once was and he acts so much more emotional than I have ever seen him" .... Weird I hate the title character 8/10

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  2. I enjoyed the back n forth look behind the scenes of the rogues/Batman dynamic. First bat read ive enjoyed for a long time... That was until the title character opens his mouth at the end and comes off as old man with a broken hip.

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  3. Expect new issue after the wedding to be about Mr.Freeze and Batman laying on the ground and talking about thier respective wives like best buds, with no context or background for doing so, because this is all that this series has become about.

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    1. LOL...as long as they tell each other what the clouds in the sky look like! Just think, Freeze: "That one looks like Kiteman" Batman: "Hell Yea"...and scene! It writes itself!!!!

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    2. See? I can make up the same level of storytelling as Tom King does!! I don't even need to write dialogue. I only need to copy and paste the same thing over and over with different sentences!! I don't even speak English but I'm sure many people will find it profound!! ;P

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  4. I pray every Wednesday that Tom King decides to head over to Image and devote his complete attention to one of his own creations. I hate it when comic companies decide to reboot back to a new #1 with a different creative team and direction, but right now Batman needs exactly that.

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    1. Why do you want to mess up Image like that...they already have to deal with Steve Orlando

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