Review: Batman #36

Newsflash: Batman proposed to Catwoman. She accepted. The continuing saga of their ongoing engagement has been fascinating for this long time Batfan, and in Batman #36 (DC Comics), they take the next step toward legitimizing this union, which is of course…. friend introductions.

In this first part of the Super Friends story arc, we find both Batman and Superman doing what you would expect, fighting crime and averting epic catastrophe. What makes this story unique is the fact that while each of them are doing this, they are in the midst of conversations with the loves of their lives about who they have not reached out to each other regarding the recent engagement. The story is humanly poignant, as each of them continue to make excuses as to why they have not made contact. During the ongoing back and forth displays of pride, the two slowly open up to their loves about the immense respect they have for the other hero. When fate brings the two couples together, you are reminded that it’s perfectly acceptable to laugh in a Batman comic story.

I’ve mentioned in previous reviews how much I’m impressed with the creativity Tom King (Writer) has shown at the helm of this series. It has seemed for a long time, since mid 1980’s, that everything about Batman, has to be overly dark and gritty. While it’s the humanity of Bruce Wayne that is such an attraction, the fact that he is only armed with his mind, and a fat stack of cash, and is willing to sacrifice himself for the common good, he has for too long, been lost in the despair of his life’s experiences. While he continues the fight against those who would do harm to others, he has taken a massive leap in his personal life to explore what it would be like to be happy. This is a bold step for a writer to take. With the Bat franchise doing such good business, there was no call for this to happen, but King did it in a way that was seamless and respectful to both the Bat and the Cat. Unquestionably, it just works.

I’ve read enough Batman stories to know, we’re nowhere near the finish line to allowing Batman to enjoy life. If I were to make a bet on this marriage actually taking place, I would be hard pressed to believe it occurs. The fact that it’s actually possible however, is good to see. Tom King is fearless in what looks like an opportunity to allow Bruce to step out of the darkness, and let the light shine on him, even if it’s from under thick cloud cover.

Clay Mann and Seth Mann (Pencils & Inks) do justice to both characters with their classic styles for each. The looks that both Lois and Selina continually give their beaus as they are trying to convince them to reach out to each other are quite convincing. The sternly empathetic panels that display their interest in getting the two men to talk are some of my favorite in this issue.

The normalcy on display between two couples, who continually do extraordinary things is what makes this issue stand out to me. We’re reminded that outside of being Batman and Superman, these are two people who still struggle with who they are. The greatness of Tom Kings writing is on full display, and I can’t wait to see how a double date between the two couples plays out.

(W) Tom King (A/CA) Clay Mann

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