Batman #78 – Tom King, Writer; Clay Mann, Artist; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: What’s the only thing more frustrating than a crushing cliffhanger showing us the likely death of a beloved character? Batman #78 being delayed a week, then taking a detour into a completely different story! Don’t look for answers about the death of Alfred Pennyworth in this issue, but the good news is that Tom King is such a good writer that he can keep us invested in the minutiae of the Batman/Catwoman relationship even with that agonizing cliffhanger hanging over our heads.
This interlude takes place on a tourist island as Selina looks after a recovering Bruce. He’s physically healed, but far from ready to return to confront Bane. We’ve seen Bruce broken down before, but something about this time is different – he almost seems unconcerned with what happened at times, and it’s Selina who has to prod him out of a semi-distracted state to focus on the crisis facing him. It’s an odd way of approaching Bruce, but I imagine being left to die by your alternate-reality father can do that.
The meat of this issue isn’t in the action scenes – there’s only a few, mostly Bruce and Selina training – but in the quiet dialogue between Bruce and Selina. This is the first time they’ve talked about her decision to leave and how he reacted in the aftermath, and King seems to be leaving the door wide open to a reunion. Selina was clearly pained by her decision and for the first time she expresses to Bruce why she actually left. Bruce has an odd fatalistic approach to the whole thing, as if he knew the universe would never allow him to be happy. It’s not my favorite take on Batman, since I tend to believe most writers make him more cynical and depressed than he actually is. But this issue seems to be about Bruce working his way out of it. Clay Mann’s art is absolutely stunning, especially in the nature scenes on the island, and he’s a near-perfect match for King. If this is a preview of what the two have cooking in their upcoming Batman/Catwoman series, count me in.
Corrina: The art is stunning and lovely and makes Selina and Bruce beautiful on every page without objectifying either of them. I especially love the nod to Magnum P.I. with Bruce’s disguise.
As for the story? The art makes me feel what’s going on between them. The dialogue makes me feel disconnected from them.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.