BATMAN #39 & #40

I say, I say, I say: What did one saggy boob say to the other saggy boob? If we don’t get some support soon, people will start to think we’re nuts. And do you know what else is nuts? The characters featured in the following story! It was created by Tom King, Joelle Jones, and published by DC Comics in February 2018.

TO QUOTE Horace: 'Fidelity is the sister of justice'.

For over a thousand years a noble warrior fought against a Horde of evil demons from Gehenna in order to stop them from entering our realm and attacking, mauling, and destroying everything living on Gods green Earth. Day in, day out, he’d constantly fight these fiends, doing so until he was eventually approached by the Justice League who presented him with one simple proposition. 

Please step away from this battle’, they said, ‘please step away so you can give yourself some time to recharge your batteries and recompose your thoughts’. Which he did, after a while, but only when he agreed to swap places with two of their members, Batman and Wonder Woman. So while they were off fighting against demons, creatures, and beasts over there, in Gehenna, he spent some time over here, on Earth, starting his sabbatical by having a nice cup of coffee with Selina ‘Catwoman’ Kyle, otherwise known as Batman’s other half. 

Now on the surface, this situation may sound somewhat strange. But no. It’s not strange. Things only get strange when the noble warrior informs Selina that time behaves rather differently in Gehenna! So much so in fact, that despite nobody aging, one hour in our time translates into one year in their time! Or to be more specific about it, thirty-seven years, give or take a month, which is more than enough time for Bruce and Diana to grow close, real close, while the noble warrior also grows closer with someone over here. 

No. I’m not talking about Selina. I’m talking about another nice lady who works at the Gotham City Police Department. So with that said, we’ve got to ask ourselves: How long will the noble warrior be staying here? Will he want to travel back to Gehenna after he meets up with his beaux? And if he doesn't, what does that mean for Bruce and Diana? Want to know more? Then please pick up issues 39 and 40 of Batman today. But before you do that, here, check this out…

Part One) WONDER BAT:   I’ve always been a big fan of the Batman and Wonder Woman partnership ever since I first saw them playing nicely, nicely, over on the Justice League animated adventure. Overall I like to think that these two heroes fit together pretty well because they seem to have so much stuff in common: As they’re both single, they're both adventurous, they’re both strategists, they’re both regal, and most importantly of them all, they’ve both followed a very similar path in life, a turbulent one, featuring parents, death, tragedy, commitment, villains, allies, and hope.

Besides, why should Superman be the only hero in the DCU who can go out with a ‘regular’ human being? 

Now please don’t get me wrong; I don’t condone infidelity and I am a big fan of Selina Kyle. As a matter of fact, I always get a right kick out of the way she perpetually flirts with Bruce, especially when it seems the least appropriate. That said, however, the chemistry she shares with him doesn’t seem to come close to the chemistry Bruce shares with Diana! I can also say the same thing about Diana’s previous relationship with Clark (for what it’s worth), even though I’m nigh on positive that nothing will ever come out of their hypothetical union. 

Well, let’s face it. Financially it would be a lot easier for DC if they allowed Bruce and Selina to tie the knot, otherwise, it would mess up their plans for a possible Wonder Woman franchise. Also, let’s not forget that Tom King publicly stated that he regretted how he concluded issue 39! In a tweet he sent out after the comic was published, he openly apologized for the way he ended this story, admitting that it was just another way of pushing Bruce and Selina closer together. Still, it was fun while it lasted, and goes to show that some of us prefer someone else for Bruce, someone with a snarky mouth, a pious tone, and a lovely pair of... oh... wait... what was that? I think I can hear my other half calling me from downstairs? Sorry! Gotta go! Bye! 

Part Two) LOVE AND DEBT:   Hey! I’m back! Back to tell you what I thought about issues 39 and 40 of Batman. On the whole, I thought that these two issues were a pretty decent read because Tom’s solid story complemented Joelle’s appropriately atmospheric artwork. More importantly, though, it asked questions, it gave answers, and it managed to set-up a fairly simple pretext which allowed us to explore a very curious idea: Would Bruce Wayne ever be tempted to stray away from Selina Kyle

Now at face value, this dilemma seems like an easy one to resolve. No, Bruce wouldn’t cheat on Selina because he’s a moralistic man with a firm set of righteous principles. But if you placate this premise within a hyper-realistic reality – which the DC Universe is more commonly known for – then the final outcome isn’t so easily hypothesized, particularly when you take into account that none of Bruce’s prior relationships with women have ever turned out for the best! Silver St Cloud, Vicki Vale, Julie Madison, Talia Al Ghul, or Shondra Kinsolving, to name but a few, each and every one of them ending their time with Bruce on a rather bum note. In part, this was largely due to him not being able to commit to a solid relationship, coupled with the fact that he’s always put his career first, way before his personal life.

Having said that, though, ever since Bruce met-up with his Dad from the Flashpoint Universe — otherwise known as that Bad-Batman with the red eyes and the red insignia — he’s started to change his mind where it comes down to matters of the heart. And why not? Doesn’t he deserve to have a normal life outside of the costume? Yes. Of course he does. Although I would have liked to have seen it commence on a less naive note. 

Well, without trying to sound like a negative Nancy, the one thing about this two-part tale I wasn’t too keen on, was the whole idea that Bruce and Diana didn’t properly research Gehenna before taking on the Gentleman’s quest. I mean, that doesn't sound like them, does it? They would normally scope out the place and investigate its history and its origins, rather than taking the word of someone they hardly know. In this case, however, they do take his word and they end-up seeming naive, easily manipulated, and foolish, going so far as to say that their thirst for battle somehow superseded their own common sense.

But apart from that slight gripe, more or less the rest of the adventure was a pretty enjoyable read, fun even, especially those parts where Bruce and Diana talked to each other as normal human beings, not two-dimensional hyper-sensitive superheroes. Selina also had a fair crack of the whip and appears to be making her presence known the more the series progresses. Fingers crossed, things will turn out for the best.

Part Three) LADIES ART:   Some people have speculated that DC Comics hired Joelle Jones in order to appease some sort of feminist agenda. Presumably, they’ve made this claim because comic book artists are usually men, coupled with the fact that today’s political climate is a rather extreme one. But as far as I’m concerned, ha! Don’t make me laugh! DC Comics hired Joelle for no other reason except for her being a really magnificent artist.

Well, just take a look at some of the images provided and you can clearly see how superbly talented she is. What I like most about her work is how she composes her characters and manages to construct a scene around them. For example, in the opening introductory sequence for issue 39, we are presented with a jovial scene showing us how our two main heroes get together.

Page one is a very funny segment as it starts off with Jim Gordon speaking on the phone to his daughter, Barbra, presumably about American football, until he is prompted to go upstairs, on to the roof of Police HQ, to see why someone has turned on the Bat Signal. This segment then continues onto the following page, page two, which basically shows us who turned it on, i.e. Wonder Woman, or Ms Woman as Jim likes to call her, who's just standing there, motionless, right next to Bruce’s beacon, almost as if she’s some sort of regal schoolgirl waiting for her next lesson. Finally, this segment comes to a close over the following two pages, as they each denote who’s who, what’s what, and why’s why, within a number of cinematically composed panels, each complemented by a splash of dramatic mood lighting that matches its tone. 

In many ways Joelle’s style of art kind of reminds me of Neal Adams’s style of art, the legendary Batman artist, and I say this because her characters seem very bold, retro, and down to earth, except when she sexes them up for the sake of titivation (obviously I’m referring to those scenes featuring Wonder Woman). Apart from that though, all in all, I love her stuff and I’m happy to see her stick around. 

If I was in Selina’s shoes I’d musically match up these two issues with the Ray Charles song, ‘My Cheating Heart’, simply because of, well, you know, reasons.

Have you ever watched the TV show, Wife Swap? If not, then please allow me to say that this ‘reality-based’ program is kind of like these two episodes, but without the heroism, the nobility, or the stoic personality. Here, check this out, and comparison made...

Halfway through issue 40, Bruce and Diana strike up a conversation where they each talk about their respective pets. So while Bruce tells Diana about Ace the Bat-hound, Diana tells Bruce about... 

  1. Squark: Her pet parrot.
  2. Bark: Her pet Pekingese.
  3. Prick: Her pet porcupine.
  4. Pussy: Her pet panther.
  5. Puffy: Her pet penguin. 
  6. Pinky: Her pet pig.
  7. Pointy: Her pet piranha.
  8. Jumpa: Her pet kangaroo. 
Nuff said. 

BATMAN #39 & #40 BATMAN #39 & #40 Reviewed by David Andrews on February 20, 2018 Rating: 5

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