Batman #46 – Tom King, Writer; Tony Daniel, Artist; Sandu Florea, Inker; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Silent Selina
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Last issue’s kickoff to “The Gift” immediately dropped us in a disturbing and unfamiliar world where Bruce Wayne was living happily as a member of the complete Wayne family, and the other members of the Bat-family had met disturbing fates or destinies in a twisted, Joker-infested Gotham. When Booster revealed his gambit to give Batman a look at what his life would have been like if he never became Batman, Batman chose to stay in this world and keep his parents alive. Batman #46 digs deeper into the world, and it becomes clear that in the year since Booster’s attempt to repair the timeline left him stranded, things have only gotten worse for him and everyone there. He breaks into Arkham to rescue Selina Kyle – here a seemingly insane woman who speaks as if she actually was a cat – and the costume he designs for her to jog Bruce’s memory will be a surprise Easter egg for Tim Burton fans. I’m not thrilled with the fact that she doesn’t really get to speak this issue, but I’m assuming there’s a story to be told.
Meanwhile, things aren’t going all that well for Bruce either, as the constant chaos in Gotham in the last year has forced Thomas Wayne into a heart attack and put him at death’s door. I was glad Martha got to do something this issue – she’s too often shoved to the background, except in Gaiman’s two-part story years back. Bruce, while trying to convince himself that he made the right choice to keep his parents alive in this timeline, is clearly starting to have some doubts. There’s a vulnerability to King’s portrayal of Bruce that’s rarely there with any other writers, and I think it’s the defining element of his run. Ultimately, this story is about two stubborn men making unbelievably stupid decisions that keep making things worse, and that’s what Booster does when he brings Catwoman to Wayne Manor as they’re being pursued by Dick Grayson’s deranged Batman. Things go from bad to worse to horrible as the timeline reaches its brutal climax – and we’ve still got several issues to go. How King gets Booster out of this one is going to be interesting to watch.
Corrina: :sigh: You would think from the title of this review that Selina would have something to do this issue, and she does, but turning her into an insane person who can only say “meow” is not what I had in mind and neither is it any kind of nuanced portrayal. It reads far more like a parody of Catwoman, and, yeah, I see the nod to Michelle Pfeiffer but her Catwoman had far more personality and agency than King’s Catwoman does this issue.
This does not make me think the trend of Selina having no voice save as it relates to Bruce is ending.
More than that, this alternate reality lacks the something that might make it interesting beyond the Bruce/Thomas interaction. There’s nothing particularly interesting about a deranged Dick Grayson (who is also one-note), and this alternate reality suffers in comparison to three other Gotham alternate realities that are currently being published: Mother Panic, Gotham A.D. (hey, Selina can talk in that one), Batman: Creature of the Night (brilliant) and Batman: White Knight, which focused on the Joker (so not my thing) but the world created for the story is fascinating.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.