Batman/Catwoman #4 – Tom King, Writer; Clay Mann, Artist; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Continuing to take place in three timelines, King and Mann’s exploration of the past, present, and future of Gotham’s most iconic couple delivers some more fantastic moments in an issue that feels more leisurely than the last. In the aftermath of Joker’s death in the future timeline, Helena Wayne takes up the mantle of Gotham’s detective and investigates her mother’s potential killing of their nemesis. This includes interrogating a bunch of Gotham’s most notorious villains—some of whom are anything but notorious right now. Ventriloquist is catatonic but Scarface keeps talking, in one of the issue’s creepiest visuals. There’s a sad but somehow hopeful postscript to Mr. Freeze’s story. But it’s Penguin who gets the issue’s best scene, as an elderly Selina comes to check on him to see what he told her daughter—and deals out a brutal warning to him in a slow-motion segment that delivers the most unexpected brutal violence of the series.
The past segments mostly deal with the nasty fallout from Selina’s oddly close relationship with Joker, which King hinted at in his main Bat-run. King is excellent at getting tension out of very few words, and the scene where Selina tells Bruce about Joker’s plot and how close to fruition it is feels icy. The argument between them is hard to see how they get past (although you know they do). Phantasm continues to be mostly in the background, as she only appears briefly for a tense hostage situation with Selina. King is using her as much as a ghost/haunting figure as anything, and that means she’s used sparingly but effectively. This was definitely the quickest read of the series so far, with relatively little dialogue and some very dramatic scenes that unfold quickly. I’m not sure what the master plan in this series is, but King is doing an excellent job of setting us up to find out.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.