Batman/Catwoman #2 is an interesting comic in that there’s a good story in there, just not the way it’s presented. The comic takes place in three eras and while that presents an opportunity, its execution in this issue is a muddled, confusing mess.
Written by Tom King, Batman/Catwoman #2 continues his epic run on Batman focusing on the duo’s relationship in the past, present, and future. There’s a lot to take in with the series as it also folds in the popular Phantasm from the beloved Batman animated film, The Mask of the Phantasm. Yes, Andrea Beaumont and her alter-ego is now cannon. The one-time love of Bruce Wayne is looking for her lost child and she’s out for revenge against The Joker who she believes is involved. There’s also a bit about a something Catwoman did with The Joker as far as some theft and in the future, Selina wants her revenge against Joker.
Any of those stories would make for a hell of a comic. But, together, they all come off as pieces and slices of a story that never comes together. It’s like reading a dream post-waking up. You remember bits and pieces but it’s not quite a coherent narrative.
Batman/Catwoman #2 is full of quality moments and that’s part of the frustration. The way the issue is presented is too chopped up so nothing ever feels like it every gets the focus it deserves. There’s also the issue with the art.
Clay Mann‘s art is amazing but there’s little to differentiate the time periods. The future with an older Catwoman and Joker is easy to pick out but the present and past blend together a bit too much. This isn’t like Strange Adventures, also written by King, where there are two artists who clearly delineate the two time periods. Instead, it at times feels like there are multiple time periods on a page with little to differentiate them. I found myself focused more on trying to figure out “when” something was happening as opposed to “what” was happening.
What’s frustrating is that Mann’s art is fantastic. Mann is joined by Tomeu Morey on color and lettering by Clayton Cowles. The art is truly great with some stunning pages that’ll leave you lingering. But, for every amazing image, there’s also some that just feel ho-hum.
The ending of Batman/Catwoman #2, which should have massive emotional resonance comes off as expected and lacks shock. What should be a major moment comes off more as sad and muted. And that might have been the intention.
As is, the mixing of time periods on pages and even in page succession, with clear delineation is what trips up the issue. There’s potential for really interesting uses of the three times. Running all three on one page through multiple pages to create a juxtaposition in the times would stand out. But, this just doesn’t click.
Batman/Catwoman #2 isn’t a bad comic but on its own, it doesn’t stand out. What should be major moments fall flat. The art is muddled in some ways though individual panels are beautiful. The comic could be so much more with some minor tweaks and changes. As is, the hype and high profile of the comic works against it. It should be so much better. This is one you might want to wait until its collected to dive into.
Story: Tom King Art: Clay Mann
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for reviews