Note: we’re doing all our DC reviews in separate posts starting this week. To find the reviews of all the other issues from November 15 and previous weeks, check our index.
Batman #35 – Tom King, Writer; Joelle Jones, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Literal Cat-Fight
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS RESIDE IN THESE REVIEWS.
Ray: This issue sidelines Batman for a change and turns the focus almost entirely on Selina and Talia as they fight to the death for…well, I’m not entirely sure. And I’m not sure they are either. Selina at least has a decent idea – she’s after Holly Robinson, the actual culprit behind the Catwoman killings. Holly is a traumatized young woman who lashed out at her tormentors and has apparently been sheltered by Talia ever since. Selina needs her to confess to her actual deeds so Selina’s name will be cleared and she can marry Bruce. Talia, meanwhile, is not in a good place and really has never been. Most issues that play her as a villain make her a one-dimensional dragon lady, but King is better than that. Her characterization is very much rooted in the trauma she was subjected to by Ra’s Al Ghul.
I think we all knew Ra’s was a monster, but Talia’s description of the way life and death meant nothing to him – a sick exercise he carried forward in his treatment and training of her – is genuinely disturbing. But while Talia is all steely intensity, Selina is her usual casual, offbeat self, and this feels like the first time we’ve really gotten to hear her have her say about her engagement to Bruce. She’s not idealizing it, surprisingly – she sees Bruce clearly, for as broken as he is. That makes me more hopeful for them, actually. But once again, it was Dick and Damian who stole this issue, bantering in the background as Bruce, Selina, and Talia have their epic drama. While the action segments as drawn by Jones are brilliant, it’s King’s character work that steals the show. I don’t know what King’s master plan for the run is, but I can’t wait to find out.
Corrina: I liked this more than I should for what was essentially a cat-fight (groan) between two women over a man. What saves it are two things. First, the panels with Dick and Damian bantering, especially since it seems Dick is the only one allowed to tease Robin. Second, Selina’s reasoning for marrying Bruce, which is that she sees him clearly and loves him anyway. I once heard the definition of love as “someone you can show your worst self to,” and that works for Bruce and Selina, as they see each other clearly, including all their flaws.
And, yeah, they’re still stupid in love. That makes the issue enjoyable but I’m still less-than-thrilled with this whole concept of women fighting over Bruce, since he should be able to get Selina a pardon, given that he’s, well, BATMAN.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.