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Review: Batman #50 is a Beautiful, Tragic Romance

If you thought that Batman and Catwoman were going to have a happy wedding with the usual supervillain attack to keep things interesting, then you’re pretty naive. On that confrontational, Batman #50 is a climactic moment in Tom King’s run on Batman, and Mikel Janin and June Chung are onboard as well to show all the romance, heartbreak, and kicking Kite-Man on the face. But the real highlight of this issue is the unleashing of some of the best living Batman and Catwoman artists to tell the love story of Bat and Cat all framed in love letters to each other. Beginning with the great Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez showing them swaddled together in a loving embrace and concluding in a pure negative space, movie poster style page from upcoming Batman artist Lee weeks, this is a wonderful encapsulation of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship done in Tom King’s signature tone poem way.

The letters that Batman and Catwoman write to each other in Batman #50 are a form of psychological probing, which makes sense because Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective and Catwoman is a skilled thief and con woman. They read people basically for a living, but are vulnerable and have huge blind spots. Especially Batman. King writes some beautiful lines where Batman and Catwoman both say that each other’s eyes is what led to their initial attraction. Batman was struck by how complex Catwoman’s eyes were, and that she could be more than a one-off animal themed villain while Catwoman realized how simple and childlike Batman’s were: pure blue. These thoughts come during Tim Sale and Paul Pope’s pages showing Catwoman in her 1990s purple costume pursuing and aggressively flirting with Batman like he’s an innocent boy and not a skilled crime fighter drawn in heroic, stealthy poses by Neal Adams and Lee Bermejo. He’s lost control and maybe has a chance to find happiness like the totally adorable page drawn by Amanda Conner of Catwoman and Batman enjoying a date at the zoo, or this issue’s sexiest moment where Mister Miracle’s Mitch Gerads shows them under a cape blanket with all the accoutrements of crime and crime fighting strewn about. Batman and Catwoman have serious chemistry, which has been boosted by King, Gerads, and Janin’s work on the current series, but are they really marriage material?

One person who shares the idea that getting married would make Batman less miserable and lose his edge is Holly Robinson, Catwoman’s long time friend, who she springs out of Arkham for one night to be her maid of honor/witness. This is a bit of a crazy plot point because the last time she appeared, Holly was fleeing the country as Batman was trying to apprehend her for 237 murders that Catwoman tried to take the fall for. The inclusion of Holly in Batman #50 makes the story a little more twist-filled than a simple case of cold feet (Eat your heart out, X-Men Gold #30), especially the final page that puts a new spin on a famous 1990s Batman storyline. As Selina’s friend, who she saved from child prostitution, Holly has been around Batman since Year One when she stabbed a less than intimidating, fake scar sporting Bruce Wayne partially leading him to choose a costume to strike fear in the heart of criminals. (As a sidenote, it’s pretty epic to see Frank Miller’s lumbering Batman on the page when Catwoman talks about how angry and graceful he was during his early crime fighting days.) But is she a pawn or a mastermind in a larger scheme?

Batman #50 seems to be an inciting incident in a larger Tom King story centered around the breaking of Batman’s heart and not his body. Batman is always surrounded by Gothic elements, like secret passages, large empty mansions, and gargoyles, so adding a doomed romance to the mix makes sense. King and Mikel Janin are working in a larger tradition of Batman getting in the way of Bruce’s happiness, and a couple of DOA romances from other mediums come to my mind. (Vicki Vale from 1989’s Batman, Andrea Beaumont in Mask of the Phantasm, Rachel Dawes in the Nolan trilogy) However, this relationship is different because King has consistently written Batman and Catwoman as equal crime fighting partners and shows this through the symmetry in the composition of their letters (Clayton Cowles’ word bubble placement is impeccable. and even similar poses in the final pinups from Greg Capullo and Weeks. Those two crazy kids had some great, but unfortunately it didn’t work out.

Batman #50 definitely will be a fanbase breaking comic book, and the spoiler-y New York Times article didn’t help matters. However, throughout his run and in homage to Batman and Catwoman’s relationship, Tom King has seeded doubts that the Bat and Cat could settle into a quiet marriage. Bruce is as comfortable with as he is in the tuxedo that Alfred said reminds him of his father. Speaking of Alfred, Mikel Janin crushes a silent sequence where Bruce asks him to be his witness, and all dialogue and narration stops for a four panel hug that segues into aforementioned dreamy page from Mitch Gerads. King and Janin pinpoint these little emotional stingers into the narrative, like Holly complimenting Catwoman’s dress or a symmetrical double page spread where Bat and Cat embrace and kiss one, unfortunately last time. The use of symmetry and formalism in the way Batman #50 is constructed hint at a couple that’s on the same page, but that’s sadly not the reality.

In Batman #50, Tom King, Mikel Janin, June Chung, and a talent group of guest artists craft the ultimate, tragic Batman love story and show the chemistry between Bat and Cat while also showing how their marriage ultimately wouldn’t work out. This definitely isn’t a big, guest star heavy special, but an intimate story of a man, who decides to work out his pain and sorrow dressed as a bat instead of finding love and peace with an enigmatic woman, who dresses like a cat.

Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janín
Guest  Art: David Finch, Joëlle Jones, Mitch Gerads, Rafael Albuquerque, Neal Adams, Andy Kubert, Becky Cloonan, Ty Templeton, José Luis Garcia-Lopez, Frank Miller, Lee Bermejo, Trish Mulvihill, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Alex Sinclair, Hi-Fi, Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey, Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts, Tim Sale, José Villarrubia, Paul Pope, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia, Lee Weeks
Colors: June Chung Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman #50

It’s the wedding you never thought you’d see! The Batrimony is real as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are set to tie the knot in a can’t-miss, extra-length milestone issue that will reshape Gotham City. All their friends (and a few enemies?) will be party to a comic book coupling for the ages.

The build up has been coming for a while now and with Batman #50 writer Tom King answers the question as to whether Batman and Catwoman tie the knot.

The issue is done in an interesting way with what amounts to two page spreads with generally half dedicated to Batman’s preparation for the day and the other half for Catwoman’s. In between these normal panel pages, there’s full page images by some top art talent on top of which we’re presented the two’s thoughts about their meeting and what they’re about to do.

While the “will they or won’t they” has been spoiled the comic is interesting as it delves into the thought process of two individuals who are clearly nervous about tying the knot and if they do what it means.

Catwoman isn’t a hero, she’s a criminal.

Batman is a hero. He’s a hero driven by his pain.

If they were to get married, what does that mean for each of them? Can Batman be happy? These are the types of thoughts that run throughout the comic as the two characters explore their love for each other. And that’s the impressive thing, Tom King convinces you that these two love each other. By the end, you’re convinced there’s no one else for these two.

And that spoiling? Well, not quite. There’s a twist but you’ll have to read the comic yourself and go elsewhere.

The issues with the comic is the hype and a build up that doesn’t pay off. The quality of the narrative is excellent, it all just doesn’t quite live up to the lead up and the end result is rather predictable. A single panel does not make a comic and this one relies heavily on that final panel.

The art duties are mainly handled by Mikel Janin with colors by June Chung and lettering by Clayton Cowles. The art is solid and there’s some fantastic page layouts. The way some of these pages are laid out is impressive with very creative visual storytelling. What’s also interesting is the use of pin-ups to tell the story as well. There was a similar thing done in Action Comics #1000 and here it sort of works. The artwork is fantastic, there’s some talent. But, it breaks up the story a bit and after a while becomes a little tedious. When the big picture comes in to focus, the choice is an interesting one and adds a poetic aspect, somewhat appropriate considering what’s happening.

This is a chapter in King’s larger story. There’s much more to come as things weave together and that final panel indicates we’ve got a hell of a lot of excitement to come. As a single issue, this one has its good and its bad but as a piece of the larger puzzle it fits like a perfectly crafted piece of the larger picture.

Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janín
Pin-up Art: David Finch, Joëlle Jones, Mitch Gerads, Rafael Albuquerque, Neal Adams, Andy Kubert, Becky Cloonan, Ty Templeton, José Luis Garcia-Lopez, Frank Miller, Lee Bermejo, trish Mulvihill, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Alex Sinclair, Hi-Fi, Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey, Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts, Tim Sale, José Villarrubia, Paul Pope, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia, Lee Weeks
Color: June Chung Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman #48

Batman and Catwoman decide it might be better to elope rather than go through some big, stodgy wedding ceremony, but no sooner do they put their marriage on the fast track than The Joker appears! And when The Joker kidnaps the Caped Crusader, will he give his old foe a piece of his mind or bash in his brains?

After a bit of a divergence with Booster Gold and some alternate timelines, we’re back focusing on the wedding of the Bat and the Cat. But, instead of just the normal pre-wedding planning, instead we see the impact on one individual in particular, the Joker. Yes, beyond his sidekicks, Alfred, and Selina, the one character that Batman has had a relationship with (and maybe the most important) is the Joker. How does he react to the idea of Batman being married and no longer being his? By taking hostages and killing some people!

The issue is the Joker basically trying to relate to Batman in weird ways going on about his past and childhood and all wondering who Batman’s “best man” is. It’s an interesting story as it shows how sad the Joker is in some ways. Through the insanity, there’s a melancholy and you kind of want the two to just hug and have a good cry. Writer Tom King delivers a Joker that’s both frightening and one you can feel bad for.

The art by Mikel Janin is fantastic helped with colors by June Chung and lettering by Clayton Cowles. The art and setting is simple, Batman and Joker in a church but the way it’s framed and how it plays out is impressive. So much of the Joker in this is his movements and facial expressions. The art too makes the action more brutal in a way focusing on it all with framed panels that forces you to focus on it all.

The team have created a comic that gives us a Joker and Batman relationship as one that can be debated for some time. The details, the actions, what’s said, can be dissected for a long time. This is what the relationship of the two is all about and we realize that it’s not Dick, Jason, Damian, or Alfred that will come between Bruce and Selina, it’s the Joker.

Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janin
Color: June Chung Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Jim Henson’s Power Of The Dark Crystal Vol. 2 HC

Jim Henson’s Power Of The Dark Crystal Vol. 2 HC

Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writers: Simon Spurrier and Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artists: Kelly and Nichole Matthews
Cover Artist: Jae Lee & June Chung
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Price: $24.99

Jen and Kira’s greatest fear has been realized as the Crystal is broken once more, and the evil Skeksis have returned, eager to regain their cruel dominance over the world. Meanwhile, on their own and on the run, Thurma and Kensho must stick together as they journey across the wildlands of Thra. Written by Simon Spurrier (The Spire, X-Men Legacy) and Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Warlords of Appalachia), and lushly illustrated by Kelly and Nichole Matthews (Toil & Trouble), The Power of the Dark Crystal continues the bestselling sequel to one of Jim Henson’s most revered creations. Collects issues #5-8.

Your First Look At “Coda” From Simon Spurrier & Matías Bergara

BOOM! Studios has unveiled a first look at Coda, a new twelve-issue series from Eisner-nominated writer Simon Spurrier and Matías Bergara. In the aftermath of an apocalypse which wiped out nearly all magic from a once-wondrous fantasy world, an antisocial former bard named Hum seeks a way to save the soul of his wife with nothing but a foul-tempered mutant unicorn and his wits to protect him…but is unwillingly drawn into a brutal power struggle which will decide forever who rules the weird wasteland.

Coda #1 will be an oversized debut issue, with 40 pages of story content and additional backmatter at the same $3.99 price point as each issue of this twelve-issue series. This first issue also features a stunning wraparound main cover by Matías Bergara, along with two variants by superstars Jae Lee & June Chung, and Jeff Stokely.

Preview: Batman #43

Batman #43

Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus
Color: June Chung Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Mikel Janin
Variant Cover: Olivier Coipel, Dave Stewart
Editor: Jamie S. Rich Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
In Shops: Mar 21, 2018
SRP: $2.99

“Everyone Loves Ivy” part three! The quest to end Ivy’s domination heads toward a close, but can Batman offer Ivy redemption on the other side of this crime? It’s an epic showdown between the Caped Crusader and one of his most popular foes, brought to you by the creative team behind “The War of Jokes and Riddles.”

Preview: Batman #42

Batman #42

Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janin
Color: June Chung Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jamie S. Rich Associate Editor: Brittany Holzherr
In Shops: Mar 07, 2018
SRP: $2.99

“Everyone Loves Ivy” part two! Poison Ivy has taken control of every man, woman and child on the planet, and only Batman and Catwoman have escaped her influence. But will the pair of them be enough to nip this in the bud?

Preview: Kong on the Planet of the Apes #1

Kong on the Planet of the Apes #1

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Carlos Magno
Colorist: Alex Guimaraes
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Mike Huddleston
Connecting Cover: Carlos Magno
Pulp Subscription Cover: Hans Woody
Retailer Variant Cover: Jae Lee and June Chung
Retailer Incentive Cover: Jae Lee
Price: $3.99

The damn dirty crossover event you demanded!
Following the events of the first Planet of the Apes film (1968), Dr. Zaius and General Ursus lead a small group of soldiers to the Forbidden Zone to destroy any remaining evidence of Taylor’s time among them. To their surprise, they discover…A KONG!

Now they must venture to Skull Island with Cornelius and Zira to discover the truth, but they may not survive the deadliest journey of their lives!

BOOM! Studios’ Kong comics are based on Joe DeVito’s Skull Island and Merian C. Cooper’s King Kong.

Preview: Sisters of Sorrow #1 (of 4)

Sisters of Sorrow #1 (of 4)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers: Kurt Sutter, Courtney Alameda
Artist: Hyeonjin Kim
Cover Artists:
Main Cover:
Jae Lee & June Chung
      Variant Cover: Andre De Freitas
FOC Variant: Valentine De Landro
Price: $3.99

  • Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy, Mayans MC) brings this all-new original tale of revenge and recovery to comics with novelist Courtney Alameda (Shutter) and breakthrough artist Hyeonjin Kim.
  • By day, Dominique, Greta, Misha, and Sarah run a nonprofit women’s shelter. At night, they each don a nun’s habit and move through Los Angeles hunting down violent abusers who have escaped justice.
  • Their increasingly public vigilantism has earned them the nickname Sisters of Sorrow, and has drawn the ire of L.A.’s notorious anti-crime task force.

Review: Batman #26


Tom King is putting his own touches on the long and incredible Batman history with Batman #26, which continues The War of Jokes and Riddles. In the second chapter of this tale, we discover that this war between The Joker and The Riddler had happened a year after Bruce became Batman. This is similar to the excellent Zero Year Scott Snyder and Greg Cappulo created in their run a few years ago. Batman’s past is always being retold, and it is amazing that after this many fantastic runs by so many good creators, it can still be interesting. Thankfully, in my opinion, King is off to a great start with this arc, and I am excited to see where this goes.

Here we get a different version of The Riddler. He’s angrier, a little more out there, and even has his shirt unbuttoned, exposing his bare chest (now complete with a carved in question mark), and a long ponytail. There have been so many different versions of Nigma, and it was fun to see another one. He came across as a little bit of a Guy Ritchie character, and while he was still obsessed with the riddles, seemed a much more intimidating foe physically, instead of just mentally. The Joker is mostly similar to the classic version you all know and love (or hate), and he is obsessed with jokes, and punchlines, and searching for them in this story. It creates some awkward comedy, as he’s a lost comedian looking for a reason to laugh. Unfortunately killing seems to be the only thing that he seems to find humor in. Together these two crime kings of mind games are preparing to go to war with each other (see, this arc is not just a clever name), which will set up the other villains of Gotham City to join sides.

As for art, Mikel Janín once again shows he was made for this book. I have enjoyed every artist on this book. Be it, Gerads, Finch, and others, but Janín provides splash pages that are pure works of art. Each of the artists provide a unique style to this run, and it makes it so much better. DC should be applauded for this, and more specifically, the editorial team. The other thing I wanted to mention about Janín, is the way he draws emotion. The looks on The Joker, Riddler, Ivy, Batman, and others in this book is incredible. Sometimes you don’t even need the text to know what they’re thinking.  June Chung does a fantastic job on colors, by playing with the different shades of green, purple, and blue for each of their respected villians and hero.

So far, The War of Jokes and Riddles is a lot of sadistic fun, and while it is another dark and brooding Batman story, sometimes those are the best ones. There’s just enough intrigue and mystery just around the shadowy corner of this arc to be excited to see where it goes, even if it does seem a bit disturbing at times. King has proven he can deliver an ending before, and I am hopeful that this story cements his run as another iconic tale in the bat-history. I recommend this book, as well as Batman #25, which started this arc.

Story: Tom King Pencils, Inks & Cover: Mikel Janín
Colors: June Chung Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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