Batman #37 – Tom King, Writer; Clay Mann, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist; Special Thanks to Seth Mann
Ray – 9.5/10
Corrina: About 80% Excellence
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: How does Tom King do it? He plumbs the depths of Bruce Wayne’s psyche in “I Am Suicide“, bathes Gotham City in blood in “The War of Jokes and Riddles“, pivots to Indiana Jones-style action-adventure in “The Rules of Engagement”, and then…does the funniest Batman story in years here, an oddball tribute to the Silver Age Batman/Superman team-ups complete with a surprising amount of emotional truth. No supervillains in this issue, not much drama, just Batman and Catwoman out for a night at the Gotham fair with Superman and Lois Lane. And it’s fantastic. I burst out laughing from the opening, when the couples arrive at the fair only to be told that it’s a themed night where only people in superhero costumes are allowed. So naturally…they switch costumes to keep from being identified. (Lois dresses up as Catwoman. Selina flirts her way in.) Bruce’s reaction hints that his relationship with Selina has a lot of snark in its future.
From there, the issue is a series of short vignettes of the couples enjoying all the fair has to offer. Clark wanting to show off for Lois by easily winning a test of strength; the different way an older married couple and a newly engaged couple enjoys the tunnel of love; Batman and Superman baiting each other in the batting cages, Lois and Selina comparing notes and sharing a flask. I especially liked Batman and Superman discussing the odd paradoxes of their relationships with the women they love. There’s a brief interlude with a particularly unfortunate, ill-timed criminal dressed up as the Question, who picked the wrong fair to rob and definitely the wrong woman, but overall this issue is a great look at exactly what normal means for these four individuals. This is far and away better than any Batman/Superman team-up we’ve gotten in years, and makes me wonder if King has a plan for Superman in his future. I, for one, can’t wait.
Corrina: Before I go further: this is mostly an amazing issue and King should write more like it. I loved the carnival, the costume switching, and so much about the men talking to each other.
I was less enthused with the running jokes the women made at the men’s expense. I get that it was all in good fun but it grated enough for me to be slightly disappointed in the entire issue. It felt like several degrees off from the way women talk to each other, much like the way I find Brian Bendis’s dialogue, particularly when women are talking in his Jessica Jones stories, to be not quite right. I’m also not thrilled that Lois and Clark are basically chaste in the Tunnel of Love They have a quiet night, a place to be alone, no kids and no responsibilities! I would expect the car would be empty when it came out while Lois and Clark…do what people in love do with a little bit of quiet time and opportunity. You have to be more creative to find this time when you’re married with a kid!
Which is a long-winded way of saying this hit a slightly sour note to me as well because I picture Lois and Clark as taking advantage of this opportunity.
But there’s a ton of good here, especially, about Clark and Bruce’s friendship, and, how Bruce and Selina see their relationship. I just wish the other stuff didn’t cast a shadow on it for me.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.