Batman #66 – Tom King, Writer; Jorge Fornes, Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Corrina: Selina Speaks. Sorta.
Ray: It’s no secret that I’ve had a few issues with the direction of King’s Batman over the last few months, and this “Knightmares” arc has been a mixed bag of fascinating experiments without a clear narrative thread. Somehow it’s all happening in Batman’s head, but not all of them are from Batman’s perspective. That’s the case with this issue by guest artist Jorge Fornes, easily the best of the arc – because it puts Catwoman front and center and finally gives us a little insight into her controversial decision to stand Batman up at the altar. This issue is largely a locked-room mystery of sorts, a confrontation between two people – Catwoman and her interrogator, The Question. There have been quite a few random characters popping up in Batman’s visions, from Pyg and Constantine and now Vic Sage. But he’s largely a plot device to prod Selina and force her to do some deep introspection about what drove her away from Batman and how it ties into their past.
Fornes gets to draw some of the iconic Batman-Catwoman scenes going back to the beginning, and he’s a brilliant choice because of the way he manages to mimic the style of the legendary David Mazzucchelli. My personal favorite segment was a brilliant caper scene where Catwoman lures Batman into Two-Face’s trap – only for it to actually be a trap for Two-Face. But ultimately, this issue is about one question that Question lays out – if Selina thought that leaving Bruce would allow him to be stronger as Batman, why does it seem to have started him down a path to becoming weaker and broken? Clearly this isn’t actually happening to Catwoman, so we don’t know if it’ll have any impact on her decision, but King seems to be calling his own theory into question. That makes me optimistic heading into the next big arc of this series, which will bring Batman to his lowest point yet. But first – next issue is an unexpected Batman/Elmer Fudd sequel! Can. Not. Wait.
Corrina: I wanted a full comic of that short story related to Batman and Catwoman and their double-crossing of Two-Face. Which pretty much sums up my issue with this run: the little bits and pieces are far more interesting than the overall narrative thread.
Fornes indeed does a great job of re-creating Batman: Year One sequences, and then he seems to adopt a style similar to the late, great Darwyn Cooke from Catwoman’s iconic series some years ago. All this means Batman #66 is brilliant to look at.
But, overall, it’s not as much fun to read.
Despite being “Selina’s” point of view, we’re really still in Batman’s head, which means we’re getting his version of Selina, not the actual Selina, which is frustrating. Perhaps the point of this issue is that the break-up in the present-day was a double-cross of Bane? But that would go against the weight of the narrative evidence in the other direction.
One note: I never expected to see the original Question in this title but now that I have, it seems to me that Vic Sage is a character much more suited to King’s writing style than Batman.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.