Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Batman #78 Review and *SPOILERS*

The Hottest Spot North of Havana

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 11, 2019

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Batman has been in a weird spot. The beginning of the City of Bane storyline gave us so much intrigue. However, ever since that issue we’ve been getting “middle of the road” issues. There’s definitely good things about them but there’s also so many delayed storylines that are being ignored as we started this arc with an exciting first issue and have decided to take things slow ever since. Granted, the previous issue had the huge reveal but somehow that entire issue still felt very slow. Going forward, I’d like to see this book crank up the pace, though I doubt that will happen. Slow burns can be good, but this entire book has been utilizing slow burns since issue 1. Variety is the spice of life and we need something different. Let’s just jump into this issue and see where it takes us.

Our issue begins with a quick scene from the past when Batman and Catwoman were just started to get to know each other. Batman had just caught Catwoman and was tending to one of the wounds that she sustained. We cut to the present day where we see Bruce and Selina rowing to an island. When asked, Bruce tells Selina that is is doing fine and she calls him a liar. At the local resort the two of them get drinks at the bar as a radio is heard reporting on Gotham Knights football. After reuniting on the beach, we learn that the two are there to get Bruce back into fighting shape before returning to Gotham. In the next scene we see the two climbing one of the mountain sides on the island. Bruce reaches the top first and helps Selina up at the end. They start to share a moment before quickly stopping it.

That night, the two are trying to sleep in their separate rooms. Selina remarks on how the walls are too thin and she can hear that he is still awake and she can’t sleep unless he does. She tells him that his breathing changes when he sleeps and that it’s comforting. They begin to share a moment again but Selina stops it again, telling Bruce to go to bed. He tells her that he is fine and she calls him a liar again. In the next scene the two take a dive off of a waterfall. They swim closer to shore and come together. Bruce is about to say something before Selina shuts him up and she goes to kiss him but stops herself just before their lips meet.

The two huddle up at a campfire next and Selina tells him about the future she saw for them. She destroyed that future when she left and she reveals that even though she thought she was doing the right thing, she realized it wasn’t as she felt sad and wept. Bruce opens up and reveals that he was hurting too and he wept for her as well. We cut to another training scene and Selina is trying to get Bruce to throw a Batarang like he means it. She wants him to release his anger toward her. She destroyed their future and he should be angry at her. Bruce refuses and instead closes the distance between them and tells her that he is just as much to blame for their breakup as she was. She wouldn’t have thought Bruce HAD to be Batman unless he believed it too. Bruce finally tells her the truth. He isn’t fine without her. The two finally kiss once again. They exchanged some final thoughts as they continue to kiss each other. This is where the issue leaves us.

This is actually a difficult issue for me to critique. On one hand, we get another issue that delays the story that we’ve been telling this arc. We ignore everything that is going on in this book to instead focus on Bruce’s rehabilitation and his relationship with Selina. That is so incredibly frustrating. That being said, this issue really shows just how good of a pure writer that Tom King is. This issue rings so true to me. Everything about how Bruce and Selina interact with each other makes sense. They address the elephant in the room but they don’t address it at the same time. They pretend to have a conversation to get over it but neither one is sharing their true feelings. As they spend more and more time together they keep coming back to these feelilngs because they haven’t been properly addressed but neither one can allow to let their egos go. It all eventually bubbles up to this scene that is a little violent and self-loathing that eventually leads to them dropping their egos and finally saying what they really feel. Tom King’s style of writing can be very frustrating at times. However, in a situation like this one where subtlety is so important and characters have to say things without saying them is where he really shines. I honestly am not sure another writer could have written this interaction as well as he has.

Bits and Pieces

It may be frustrating to a lot of readers to once again delay our main story to focus on Bruce and Selina’s relationship. As valid as those frustations may be, this issue really is well written. All the interactions with these two feel so genuine and real that I’m really taken aback by how much I loved this. Tom King deserves a lot of criticism, even when it comes to the main idea of this issue. However, at least for this issue, his execution was immaculate. Add some really beautiful art on top of that and this issue is really amazing. If it had come at a different time, I might have called it perfect. I don't know how the rest of this story arc will turn out but this issue deserves praise. 



  1. Come on, now. You're almost there. You're still giving unrealistic scores to this comic because you WANT it to be good. You believe it SHOULD be good. Yessssss. . .I was once like you, my friend. But I soon embraced the truth, and I see in your review that you are also beginning to realize the same. I see your hesitation as the cracks in the narrative finally become clear. I see you wondering WHY Batman and Catwoman are living in a fan-fiction relationship bubble while his city is held hostage by his greatest enemy and an army of villains. I see you wondering WHY Batman would be concerned even a little bit by his relationship with Catwoman while Alfred is a prisoner of Bane and his son and other close partners are on their own. Yes, my friend. . .I see you wonder WHY Batman would hesitate even a SINGLE moment in his pastel island paradise when there is a city to be saved. You WANT to give this a 5. But you just can't bring yourself to do it. That's fine. I know it's hard. It's hard to say bad things about something you love. All you need to do is take the first step: Go in your bathroom. Look in the mirror. Look right into your own eyes. Now take a breath and say, "Tom King is not a good Batman writer". Now. . .say it again. It's for your own good, my friend.

    1. To be fair, Dan's average score for this book has been around a 5/10 since taking over reviewing it. I didn't like this one bit (I gave it a 3 on our spotlight podcast). I wish this stuff was left for the upcoming Bat/Cat book and have Batman be Batman! Why isnt he in contact with the Bat Family? The Jusice League? Anyone?????