Batman #79 – Tom King, Writer; Clay Mann, Artist; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Last issue’s exploration of the Batman/Catwoman relationship was a compelling story of Tom King’s star-crossed lovers, but it also raised some questions. Are Batman and Catwoman having a relaxing vacation while Gotham is under the control of a pair of madmen and Joker is being given a policeman’s badge? Batman #79 thankfully clears that up a bit – this is the story that’s going on during Batman #75-#76, and the shocking events of #77 haven’t happened yet. In fact, they intersect with the end of Batman #79.
But this is very clearly about Batman’s rehabilitation after the beating he took at his “father”s hands, and this issue is a big step towards that recovery – as he and Selina take on their first supervillain. Interestingly, it’s a callback to one of the first villains Batman ever faced – the jewel-obsessed Magpie, who despite being a minor player in Batman’s story has shown up at some key moments. She’s smuggling Venom onto the island, and that dangerous drug may be the key to taking Gotham back.
This arc has taken Bruce and Selina back to the beginning – Batman #78 paid tribute to their first meeting in the golden age, while Batman #79 has a great opening page paying tribute to their first meeting in Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Whether you enjoy this issue will depend heavily on how much you enjoy King’s dialogue – I find it to be a tricky animal, but overall I think it cuts to the core of the characters and their emotions better than almost anyone else’s dialogue in the industry.
Batman and Catwoman have been dancing around each other for decades our time, and now they have nowhere to run but to explore what their future actually is. But in the middle of the dialogue, there’s some low-scale crime-fighting that’s a lot of fun – bringing the characters back to their roots. We all know some grim stuff is coming as Batman and Catwoman return to retake Gotham, so this break arc is a nice breather before this title heads into the last six issues of its run.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.