BATMAN #13 & #14

So this is it. This is the big one, folks. This is the episode of Batman, two episodes to be more precise, where we'll see if the Dark Knight Detective is able to take down Bane and save his squad from Bane's nefarious clutches. It's January, 2017, and it's time for the Batman double-review.

TO QUOTE Admiral Ackbar: 'It's a trap'.

Over the last couple of months we've seen Batman recruit a group of Arkham inmates, so he can use them to confront his semi-naked archenemy, Bane, who's currently in a fortified stronghold situated on the Mediterranean Island of Santa Prisca.

Now overall Batman's motives for doing this are pretty simple to explain: In his possession Bane has the Psycho Pirate, and Batman need's the Pirate so he can cure Gotham Girl of her ailments: Which, regrettably, he gave to her at the tail end of the 'I Am Gotham' storyline.  What isn't so simple to explain, however, is how part five of 'I Am Suicide', also known as issue #13 of Batman, puts all of this to bed.

Well, if you've read this book already -- SPOILER ALERT -- then you'd know that within the first few pages, Amanda Waller, from the Suicide Squad, pops up in the Batcave and tells Alfred that she's using Batman's mission as a ruse so she can steal some of his top secret files: Which she does, as elaborated upon further in the Justice League Vs Suicide Squad mini-series!

Once that scene plays out, we are then presented with the actual mission, which comprises of a number of sequences, loosely stringed together, where certain characters perform specific tasks so they can overcome the bad guys. This includes Punch and Jewlee (who aren't dead) making a life raft out of a huge wad of bubble-gum so they can make their escape, while Catwoman sneakily swap sides and disables Bane with one swift kick to the back. But before any of these events can be fully played out, Batman has to allow Bane to beat him up so Selina has the opportunity to deliver the kick!

Like many of you out there, I'm not quite sure if I liked this concluding chapter or not. While a part of me applauded it's originality, another part of me wasn't too keen on its tone, its disposition, or if certain characters are being portrayed in a relatable manner. This can also be said about Batman's motives for recruiting this specific team! Admittedly, I can understand that some of this is due to him wanting to be close to Selina again -- well, who wouldn't? -- as well as trying to aide Ben get out of prison. But that said, he already has a team of heroes at his disposal, namely, those heroes he's banded with in the pages of Detective Comics. Plus, while I'm on the subject of Ben, what was his role in Batman's mission exactly? Was he just there so he could move Arnold into place? Hmmm? Most of this seems a bit too suspicious to me. Forced even.

Now in stark contrast to these crazy shenanigans, there were a couple of thing's that Tom King put into issue 13 that I personally thought was a cut above the rest. Thing's like, how Arnold Wesker was utilized to counteract the Psycho Pirates powers -- I thought that hand-puppet ploy was pretty innovative. Then there was that whole segment at the end where most of these events were properly explained -- which, let's face it, needed to happen.

Mikel Janin's art, on the other hand -- wow! -- that was amazing! I just love the way in which he manages to counteract the hectic tide of the action with a smooth flow of visuals which were well composed, well thought out, and well nice to look at -- On a side note, I loved his interpretation of the Wall, as that looked very original and authentic to me.  

Talking about things being authentic, this now brings us quite nicely onto issue 14 of Batman, also known as the first part of Rooftops. Here, we are presented with a scenario where Batman and Catwoman both go out on a date together. After the events of the previous issue, Catwoman has been given a reduced sentence for her crimes, and now has to look forward to a life in prison, namely, Blackgate Prison, rather than death in Arkham Asylum. But before Batman can cart her off, Selina asks him for one final favor.

A date, a one night date between the two of them, which result's in the whole tale being focused on what the both of them get up to! And what is that exactly? Well, surprisingly enough, what you'd expect. The first half of their date is focused on Batman and Catwoman fighting crime throughout Gotham, with them both quickly vanquishing such villains as Clock King (Yawn), Magpie (Double Yawn), Signal Man (Zzzzzzz), Gorilla Boss (Ogga-Ogga), Ten-eyed Man (He needs an optician), Werewolf (By Midnight?), Copperhead (His hats must stain), Amygdala (I like him), King Snake (I like him too), Condiment King (Pass the Salt), Cavalier (Pass the sick bag), Zebra Man (Bbbrrrg), Film Freak (I want a second opinion), Mad Monk (Bless You), and Kite Man (Bless me). Where as the second part of the date is focused on them both doing something Catwoman likes doing, namely, stealing something valuable.

Of course I won't tell you exactly what they steal as I think that I've said enough already. That said, however, what I would like to mention about issue 14 is how well constructed it was as an introductory story. Thanks to Mitch Gerads' stylish artwork, this chapter is pure film noir; jam packed with vast cinematic landscapes, a muted color pallet, plus a slower pace which incrementally got faster and faster. I also liked the way in which both Bat's and Cat's spoke to each other in a very open and Frank manner. It was as though Tom King saw Double Indemnity before he wrote this comic, and took from it the idea of a relationship that's doomed to failure, despite the odds. Admittedly, Bruce and Selina's relationship isn't doomed yet.  Yet having said that, we still have one more chapter to go, and I hope that it manages to tell us: (1) What's next for this diametrically diverse duo? And (2): Did Selina kill off all those people? And if she did, how come Batman thinks otherwise?

At the end of issue 13, I suspect that Bane will go off to his room and play the following song by Justin Timberlake.

Well, now that he has a bad back, he may need to bring sexy back? Plus while I'm on the topic of things being sexy, being sexy is definitely at the heart of issue 14. Wink-wink! Ouch! Pun Alert!!

Last year, a friend and I wrote a number of dating themed posts, relating to what certain superheroes would do on a date. Maybe Tom King has had a look at some of these posts, and thought that he'd show us what they'd do in issue 14 of Batman. Otherwise, as previously stated in my review, he probably watched Double Indemnity. Here, check it out and tell me what you think...

At the very end of issue 14, Batman and Catwoman do something that some of you might be able to guess. So go on, guess, out of the following eight options. As do they...

  1. Dress up as Superman and Wonder Woman.
  2. Vogue.
  3. Beat the crap out of each other.
  4. Play Monopoly.
  5. Go to a disco.
  6. Swipe right on Tinder.
  7. Predict what Barry Allen's date was like with Iris West.
  8. Shag.
Nuff said.

BATMAN #13 & #14 BATMAN #13 & #14 Reviewed by David Andrews on January 23, 2017 Rating: 5

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