BATMAN #15 & #16

What would you do for love? Would you slap David Finch with a bird? Kick Tom King with a Queen? Or how about, take Mitch Gerads out for a lunch? Me? Nah... I wouldn't involve myself in any of these activities! I'd rather read the following two comic books published by DC Comics in February, 2017.

TO QUOTE Meir Kahane: 'Love has its place, as does hate. Peace has its place, as does war. Mercy has its place, as do cruelty and revenge'.

Over the years it's become fairly apparent that Batman and Catwoman both fancy the pants off of each other. In fact, they're mutual admiration has become so Goddamned obvious, in last month's episode of Batman the two of them, you know, did the deed, nudge-nudge, wink-wink! 

Of course, with this being a fairly child friendly comic book (within reason), none of us actually got to see anything too hard core.  Although, that said, enough skin was on display to imply what physically happened.

As for this month, on the other hand, what can I say about issue 15? Well, to put it nicely, this month's episode is a continuation of what went down last month. The story starts off with a scene where Batman and Catwoman laze around semi-naked on a rooftop, with the both of them trying to recollect about the time they first met. In all fairness, I thought this was one of the best scenes in the entire book, as it showed two very different takes on their first meeting: With Batman going the Golden Age root, while Catwoman took a more contemporary Frank Miller Year One root.

Once that cute little sequence finally came to fruition, Catwoman then decided to get dressed, whisper sweet nothings into Bruce's ear, before mysteriously disappearing into the night. Flip! That's it. See you later, alligator. Thanks for the bat-shag and hope to see you again when the sun comes up. All this, in spite of Batman now having to take her off to prison! So what does he do next?  Why of course, he has to go and track her down, and his first port of call is none other than his old friend, Jim Gordon.

In this follow on scene, we get to see some of that old school razzmatazz we usually witnessed between these two great characters. So just like a 90s episode of Detective Comics, Jim moans about not getting enough sleep or smoking his pipe too much, where as Batman slides into view, asks Jim what he wants to know, before sliding out of view again, once Jim initiates what needs to be initiated.

And what is that exactly? It's to find the whereabouts of the woman Selina mentioned last month, Holly Robinson, who's the next person Batman encounters in this story. Now for fairly obvious reasons I can't tell you what goes on between Batman and Holly because I don't want to spoil how this issue ends. Although, what I can say, is that, yes, this conclusion is very poignantly told and it does reveal a lot about Selina, namely, other facets she has in common with a certain Dark Knight Detective.  I would also like to applaud Tom King for his down to earth script and Mitch Gerads for his amazingly moody visuals. Honestly, the both of them worked so well together on this two part tale, I was genuinely sorry to see Mitch go when issue 16 came a calling. 

Talking about issue 16, this episode, as opposed to the previous one, shifts its focus away from romance, and realigns itself towards the first part of the 'I Am Bane' story-line, which basically sets-up the fall out of Batman's encounter with Bane after the 'I Am Suicide' story-arc.

Within the first few pages we see a mysterious figure slowly making his way into Arkham Asylum and towards the Psycho Pirate's cell. When he eventually get's there he notices that there's a group of people standing nearby, those people being Batman, Doctor Arkham, and a security guard. As soon as he sees this he quickly swoops down from the gantry and viciously kicks Batman in the back.

But don't worry. This mysterious figure isn't Bane or one of his henchmen. This person is none other than Batman's old sparring partner, Bronze Tiger, who kicked him out of the way when the security guard (obviously working for Bane) fired in his direction.

According to Ben, Bane is suffering from Venom withdrawal because the Pirate isn't around to abate his drug-induced condition. So, as you might of guessed, he now wants him back by any means necessary, and he does mean any means.

Overall I thought this scene was a pretty impressive scene as it was told without words until after the deed was done. Ben just approached Bat's and told him why Bane is doing what he's doing, and he does this by saying that like Bane, he too is suffering from Venom withdrawal, which was nicely set-up during the aforementioned suicidal story-arc.
In retaliation to this, the next scene, which I must say, is one of the best sequences I've seen in a Batman comic book for ages, Bruce gathers his side-kicks together at a Batman-themed fast-food restaurant, named Bat-Burger, so he can tell Dick, Damien, Jason, and Duke, to get out of Gotham for five days until he can finally resolve this situation. Based on what he knows so far he needs this amount of time so he can get the Psycho Pirate to cure Gotham Girl and then dispose of his mask.

One of the main reasons why I found this scene so enjoyable to follow was because of the way in which it relayed the exposition in a really fun manner. A good example of this can be seen in that section where Bruce places his order and tells the cashier off for then promoting Jokerized french-fries. Even though his outburst doesn't have any real baring on the actual plot being told, what it does do is highlight the fact that commercialism always tries to cash-in on a popular property, even if said-property is associated with death. Which isn't really nice, especially for any of the victims.

Something else I loved about this scene centers on the interactions' between the three (or is that four?) Robins. Thanks to Tom's witty dialogue, each of them had a really charming trait unique to their own personality: As Dick became the laid back twenty-something, Jason became the sarcastic second-in-command, Damien became the naive brat, where as Duke became the obedient sage in waiting. It was also completely relatable as to why Bruce told them to get out of town, especially after what happened to Tim, plus on the whole it was just nice to see them together in a scene which wasn't set in the Batcave.  

In the last portion of the book Batman tell's Catwoman the same thing he told the three (four?) Robins, as well as setting-up what he and Alfred have to do next to save Gotham Girl. Once again I'm afraid I can't tell you too much because if I do I will spoil one hell of a great ending.  Yet what I will say, is that David Finch's artwork is blooming fantastic as he manages to convey action, character, plus pathos, in such a detailed manner that he actually enhances Tom's very innovative story-line. On the whole part one of 'I am Bane' is a great start to what could be a really amazing adventure. So far, so good!

While Batman and Catwoman, you know, did the deed in issue 15, I like to think that the two of them had the following song playing in the background. So take it away, Foreigner, with...

I'd like to compare both of these comic books to a cucumber sandwich, and I say this because, initially, this savory snack was mentioned in issue 16, and subsequently, because cucumbers usually repel cat's.

Hey, it makes sense to me!

At the very end of issue 16 we see Batman, Gotham Girl, and Alfred, venture down into the Batcave and discover something fairly frightening. So, for the sake of Jokerized french-fries, can you guess what that something is out of the following eight options? Could it be...

  1. The Predator and The Terminator writing a script.
  2. A naked Catwoman shagging Bane.
  3. Three dead body's hanging from the rafters, with each of them either dressed as Robin, Red-Hood, or Nightwing.
  4. The Flash and Iris West shagging at super-speed.
  5. This review.
  6. Ben Affleck asking for directions towards his next movie.
  7. Ten kilos of Jokerized french-fries.
  8. Donald Trump dressed as a Mexican.
Nuff said.

BATMAN #15 & #16 BATMAN #15 & #16 Reviewed by David Andrews on February 20, 2017 Rating: 5

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