Batman/Catwoman #8 – Tom King, Writer; Liam Sharp, Artist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Tom King’s books are often about what happens when our heroes commit morally reprehensible acts. Can someone still be a hero in the face of overwhelming temptation? That concept is still front and center in this Bat-family book spanning generations. In the past, at the dawn of Batman’s career, we see how Selina’s link to Joker is drawing a rift between her and Batman. Even as Joker’s killing spree begins, she can’t give him up—which is honestly, the book’s weakest point. Selina is morally… flexible, but ultimately she’s never shown any inclination towards mass murder, and her enmeshed attitude with Joker is hard to square.
The middle segment is probably the strongest, mostly because new artist Liam Sharp draws maybe the most terrifying version of Phantasm I’ve ever seen. The added detail and realism makes every time she appears on screen genuinely haunting, and as she chases down the truth of what happened to her son, she finds an unlikely ally—Joker. Something has pushed her so far that she’s willing to work with the maniac clown to hold a family hostage—a family with a shocking link to her son that raises more questions than it answers. This present-day (or close) segment is the one that leaves me the most anxious for more every month.
And then we get to the future, as Selina Kyle is on the run, searching for Joker’s body as her daughter and Commissioner Grayson search for her. King’s take on Selina in this series is inscrutable, as it’s always hard to tell whether she’s about to go deep into villainy again. It’s intriguing, but it also feels like spotty characterization at times. King works best when he’s dealing with characters who he can put his unique stamp on, and while there is a lot of good in this series, it doesn’t quite match up with his other recent work because it feels too apart from the character we know.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.