Review: Batman/Catwoman #1
After a lot of anticipation, Batman/Catwoman #1 kicks off off writer Tom King‘s next chapter in his Batman saga that began so many years ago. Spinning out of his Batman run, the series focuses on three eras in Batman and Catwoman’s lives. The past deals with Bruce Wayne and a previous love interest. The present has that love interest return as Bruce and Selina are now an item. And in the future, the two have found a sort of happiness in their lives. We’ve seen glimpses of the future King has envisioned before but this series expands upon that while reflecting on the past.
King is a solid writer, but Batman/Catwoman #1 falls into an issue that King’s work has run into in recent years. King has found a niche in maxi-series events where the whole is the piece of entertainment. But, the whole is made up of individual parts. That can work at times but it often leads to weaker individual issues compared to reading through the story in one go. That can result in a frustrating reading experience and that’s on display here.
Each era King takes us to is interesting and each could be a series by themselves. Batman/Catwoman #1 attempts to juggle its trio of stories resulting in at times confusing mess of a narrative. The shifts between eras aren’t clear such as in King’s Strange Adventures and too little time is spent with scenes. Things come off more as teases than an actual story. Yes, comics are serialized storytelling. They need to be judged by the individual chapter along with the whole. As a beginning chapter, the issue is a bit unsatisfying.
There are some great moments within Batman/Catwoman #1 but the issue as a whole is a tease of what’s to come. There doesn’t feel like an arc within the issue, instead it’s short segments setting up what’s to come. With the comic balancing it’s three story arcs, those setups are shortened and in the end choppy. That’s partially due to the art.
Clay Mann handles the art with colors by Tomeu Morey. The art is great, that’s not the issue. The problem comes with an unclear transition between the eras at times. Only in the future is it really clear when things shift. The present and past blend a bit too well. If that was part of the narrative, it’d be great but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The breaks aren’t clear enough resulting in at times a confusing reading where it’s not clear “when” the segment takes place. The character designs, colors, and inks look fantastic though. There are some great pages and panels and there’s strength there. It’s just a transition issue. The lettering by Clayton Cowles is solid as well. The lettering and speech bubbles let the art shine, even when a page is dialogue-heavy. The bubbles add to the flow of the visuals.
Batman/Catwoman #1 is a bad start, it’s just not as engaging as it thinks it is. There’s some great ideas and each era could be a hell of a story by itself. The issue is that there’s too much attempted in the first issue with not enough time spent on each. It makes for a beginning that sets things up but doesn’t feel satisfying by itself. It’s the teaser before a film’s credit. It can catch your attention but rarely is it good by itself.
Story: Tom King Art: Clay Mann
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review