REVIEW: Batman #34: The Present Meets the Past

Batman tends to be known for being the grim and brooding Dark Knight of Gotham, but that is the Batman. People forget that Bruce Wayne is in there too and over the years it seemed as if Bruce had forgotten that as well.  In Batman #34 it seems as if Selena Kyle has reminded him of that and provided an opportunity to pay homage to one of the best aspects of the golden age Batman, who married Selena and had a daughter with her.  Their daughter, Helena Wayne, followed in her parent’s footsteps and became the original Huntress.

Tom King gives us some great character moments between Batman and Catwoman as they battle through waves of Talia Al Ghul’s minions.  They are attempting to find Holly Robinson who had killed 237 people back in Gotham and left Catwoman to take the blame. The banter between the couple is extremely well written and shows just how much these two characters belong together.  Realizing that Talia is who they are up against Selena keeps needling Bruce about his ex.  Bruce’s replies to attempt to diffuse the situation just get him in more trouble.

There is a great scene between Superman and Damian where Damian arrogantly tells Superman how he would defeat him. Superman responds by telling him he’d doubt his son Jon would want to play with him anymore if he did.  This is a very Damian kind of thing to do and is one of the things I love about the character. Damian decides against a confrontation and sits down to wait with Dick Grayson who has tagged along.

I’ve always liked the dynamic between Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne.  They truly act like brothers.  Their run as the dynamic duo when Dick had taken over as Batman was among my favorite Batman runs of all time.  Dick was a different kind of Batman.  He may have endured tragedy as a child and lost his parents to crime just like Bruce, but he never let that consume him and be what defined him.  Instead it was more about preventing what happened to him from happening to others.

Damian was also a very different kind of Robin. He had not experienced loss of either of his parents and is a trained assassin. His arrogance knows no bounds, but he tends to be able to back it up.  He is a very unique character and one that adds something to Bruce Wayne’s world that was sorely needed.  He humanizes Bruce a little.  As Batman he can be a shadowy myth, but being a good father is something that requires him to be human.  That bit of humanizing from Damian may be what paved the way to allow him to open himself up to Selena Kyle.

Joelle Jones does a great job of conveying the foreign environments and I was impressed with Batman’s look in the story.  Rather than stick to the traditional costume alone, which would have been very impractical, we get a Batman that is geared up and ready for the challenge at hand.  This is who Batman is, right tools for the right job.  The colors of Jordie Bellaire add depth and a gritty character to the harsh surroundings that Bruce and Selena find themselves in.

This issue was part 2 of the Rules of Engagement storyline and was a fun Batman story.  I’m excited to see the character evolving and very curious to see what the future holds for Bruce and Selena.

Story: 3.5
Art: 3
Overall Rating: 3.25

(W) Tom King (A/CA) Joelle Jones

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