Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Batman/Catwoman #2 Review

Just Ignore That Part

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey
Letters By: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: January 19, 2020

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

This new series got off to a somewhat bumpy start. There are three different stories all being told in tandem and while one of them is distinct enough, the other two are so similar that there were several scenes that I had to return to in order to realize that they were part of the other timeline. That said, there were some very interesting things that were being done in this book with those timelines. I’m honestly interested in where the stories will be going. However, the biggest point of this series comes down to Tom King. He has seemingly been given free rein over this book so if you weren’t a fan of his beforehand, I highly doubt you will enjoy this series at all. It was a bit heavy-handed even for me. However, perhaps this new issue will lure readers back in. We won’t find out unless we jump in, so let’s do just that.

Our issue begins by immediately switching between stories. We see Joker and Catwoman in the future as they are facing off (last we saw them, Joker was sinking his teeth into Selina’s neck, but I guess they just separated and ignored that). We skip to the past where Catwoman and Batman are investigating the death of a mobster. We then cut to the present where The Phantasm is beginning its bloody reign. The Cat and Bat are then investigating another murder of one of Joker’s henchmen. We cut to the past where Selina had met that henchmen and gave him a small beating in order to get an audience with The Joker. When the two are face to face, Selina tells him that Batman is investigating the mobster’s death. She takes the necklace she took off his body out and returns it to Joker because she can’t be caught with it by Batman.

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We cut to the future again where Joker gets up from his seat to get a glass of water and he offers one to Selina, which she accepts. As he gets the water, they reminisce about the fight they had at the chapel, when Selina cut his throat open and he almost met his death. He then offers to get Selina some ice for the water, which she accepts. When he opens the freezer for ice, we see that he has a hidden revolver in there. We cut to the present where a man enters a bar and orders a whiskey. After drinking it, he slumps over the bar and passes away. Batman and Catwoman eventually arrive at the scene and they are able to connect the death to The Phantasm once again. She seems to be making her way through Joker’s goons. We flash to the past where Batman is opening the mobster’s safe in order to try and find a necklace that went missing from his person. Catwoman tries to trivialize it as she claims that Joker simply took it, but that doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense to Batman. In the future, Joker comes out of the kitchen and pumps several rounds into the chair where Selina was sitting, but in the aftermath, we see that she isn’t there anymore but instead was waiting for him.

We cut to the present where another man is running away from an unseen assailant only to find The Phantasm on the subway train waiting for him. We cut to the past where Selina and Bruce are sharing a meal and talking about the necklace. It becomes clear that Bruce doesn’t buy the story that Selina is telling him. In the future, Selina gets the jump on Joker and he pulls a switchblade out. He tries to fight back, but she is able to easily defeat him. In the present, Bruce and Selina see the bat signal outside but something is off about it. When they arrive, they find that Joker is the one that has turned it on. Joker immediately surrenders himself to Batman in order to ask him for protection from The Phantasm. In the past, we see Batman and Catwoman talking about the necklace and Batman straight-up asks Selina if she stole the necklace and she lies to him and tells him that she didn’t. Back in the future, we get a final scene of Selina and Joker as Selina removes her glove and slices Joker’s throat open. He holds his neck for a moment before passing out on the floor as blood pools beneath him. This is where the issue leaves us.

Once again, I’m stuck in a situation where there are some things about this issue that I like and others that I really dislike. Let’s start with the good. I really like the idea of The Phantasm hunting down Joker and Joker coming to Batman for help. There are so many ways that story can go and all of them seem very interesting to me. The future story is also very interesting as we see an elderly Selina kill an elderly Joker. The consequences of such actions intrigue me. In addition, the art in this book is really next level. Beautiful art is held within these pages and each page turn offers new and exciting images. Now for the bad. In the previous issue, we saw Joker reveal himself in the future story and attack Selina. Yet, at the beginning of this issue, they are simply having a nice conversation. It was literally one issue ago that we saw this and we are already just sweeping it under the rug. It’s incredibly bad writing. I don’t know what happened but it is really bad. Considering the way that the story goes forward, I feel like we didn’t even have to ignore it. We could have just moved to the fight in this issue. In addition, the past storyline feels very boring at this point. Not a lot is even happening, and it mainly serves to show that trust has been an issue between Batman and Catwoman in the past. Overall, this issue still has Tom King’s signature all over it and while it wasn’t as heavy-handed this issue, it was still very prevalent. This issue will not do anything to convince those that don’t like Tom King to buy this series, but overall it falls somewhere in the middle for me.

Bits and Pieces

This series continues to give me stories that I’m legitimately interested in and that I’m looking forward to seeing more of. In addition, the art in this book is top tier and might be one of the prettiest books in DC’s lineup. That said, there are blatant mistakes when it comes to continuity and one of the three stories in this issue becomes stale and uninteresting. It is offset by the good parts of this book, but the mistakes are so glaring that I cannot bring me to ignore them.


1 comment:

  1. I honestly forgot about this book, but then I remembered Tom King was writing it. Thanks for the review. Like you said, the idea of Joker going to Batman for protection against the Phantasm is a cool idea. But Tom King's execution of this story has been so half-baked so far, and I don't trust him to follow through. Plus, I don't know whether to cringe or be angry with him writing an elderly Catwoman killing an elderly Joker. This dynamic he's trying to establish between them is weird to me.