Batman #68 – Tom King, Writer; Amanda Conner, Dan Panosian, John Timms, Mikel Janin, Artists; Paul Mounts, Jordie Bellaire, Colorists
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Going Nowhere Fast
Ray: The Knightmares arc continues to be an odd duck, switching tone and genre with every issue as it unravels the bizarre series of illusions and delusions lurking into Batman’s head. Most are dark and disturbing, but that’s not the case with Batman #68 – taking place during Batman and Catwoman’s respective bachelor and bachelorette parties. With Amanda Conner doing most of the art this issue, this is a light, quirky issue that seems to be a sequel to the brilliant Clay Mann-drawn arc with the Super and Bat couples on a double date. This issue switches up the dynamic by pairing the two women and the two men together, and the results are gleefully bizarre. At least where the women are concerned – thanks to Supergirl hacking the Fortress of Solitude, they have the run of the place and get into alien wine and supernatural hot tubs. Underneath it all is a great narrative of these two women, both of whom are incredibly skilled in their own right, finding a rare friendship with someone who understands them.
A strangely cynical line from Lois in the issue aside, both of them were very in-character and King got some great humor of the Fortress’ various bizarre settings. That can’t be said for Bruce and Clark’s much more sedate affair, but I think that’s the point. Instead of a big shindig with all the heroes of the DCU, Bruce has elected a private night at Wayne Manor with Clark and Alfred. If you’ve ever been to an awkward party that never takes off, that’s this in spades. Some of the dialogue is painful to watch, especially when they try to bond over a Gotham Knights game. Of course, none of this is real and the goal here is to get under Bruce’s skin. By the end of the issue, we start to see reality fraying around them and the issue ends with a disturbing full-page shot of exactly where Batman has been spending this arc. This is an extremely elaborate way to get Batman to the next step, but with more issues like this I’m ready to be patient and enjoy the ride.
Corrina: Why would Lois need to hack the Fortress of Solitude? Why would she need Supergirl’s help? (Perhaps Conner wanted to draw her, in which case, I’m okay with that.)
Ray loves it. I loved Conner’s art (and always have) and the look of the tale has the perfect tone of what King wanted to convey this issue, that of light and fun. But the women feel off. This seems to me more like something a man who watched a lot of Sex and the City would think that women do on their bachelorette parties, rather than a true party with Selina and Lois.
Yes, women drink a lot of booze and hang out, sometimes, but even their voices seem off. Lois’ confession that she has to keep doing the “reporter, mom, and wife” thing each day and do it again is an example. Yes, women struggle with juggling all their selves. But for real insight, one has to dig down into that, and how Lois feels rather than overwhelmed, to insight into the nitty-gritty of women’s lives, and this story only skims the surface.
The bits with Bruce and Clark work much better.
And I suppose all that can be excused by it being all in Bruce’s head, anyway, so, yes, it’s what a man thinks woman would do? Maybe?
Which, fine, but, wow is the pacing of this particular adventure dragging, from one nightmare to the other, and, leading to, I assume, Bruce finally falling apart. (I could only wish Dick being shot was part of this nightmare scenario but DC already installed that as real in the Nightwing book. :sigh:)
It’s a long, drawn-out fall and while the spotlight on the artists has been great, the visuals can’t hide the fact that the story is paper-thin.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.