BATMAN #49 & #50

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[ BUY A BRIDE
Dearly beloved. We have been gathered here today to bear witness to the union of these two masked vigilantes: The Bat and The Cat. So if any of you can see any reason as to why they shouldn’t be joined together in holy matrimony, speak now, or else read the following story created by Tom King, Mikel Janin, thirty-five other artists, and published by DC Comics. It’s July, 2018, and it’s time to say, ‘I do’.

TO QUOTE Robert A. Heinlein: 'Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea'. 

THE REVIEW:
The last time we saw the Harlequin of Hate, otherwise known as The Joker, he killed a church full of people before taking down his old adversary, The Batman. So up next is none other than Batman’s bride-to-be, Selina ‘Catwoman’ Kyle: Which, begs the question, who do you think is going to win round two? Ding-Ding! The Clown Prince of Crime or the Princess of Plunder? 

Well, if truth be told, neither of them comes out on top, so to speak, because during their skirmish he suddenly shoots her in the stomach at exactly the same time she slashes his throat! Which must hurt, hurt a lot, and results in the two of them having to physically brace their respective wounds, by hand, or else they will slowly, slowly, slowly, bleed to death.

But don’t worry. Neither of them kicks the bucket! Not now, anyway, because during this difficult time they strike-up a conversation and talk, chat, and generally reminisce about ‘the good old days’ and their feelings towards a certain Dark Knight. Yes. That’s correct. These two talk, talk a lot, about their motives, about their comrades, and about Selina’s up and coming wedding with you know who! 

Will she follow through with it though? Getting married I mean! And if she does, how can she survive her injuries without compromising her principles, her standards, and her love towards her partner in crime? To find out, wait a week, scratch your head five times, and then grab some confetti, tissues, and issues 49 and 50 of Batman. In the meantime though, here, check this out...

Part One) TO MARRY, OR NOT TO MARRY:   Ever since it was first announced that Batman was going to marry Catwoman,  Bat-fans, far and wide, were either praising their union or dead set against it. Some have even speculated that if Bruce should ever marry Selina this would somehow dilute his essence and make him less motivated to continue his crusade. Others, on the other hand, have stated the complete opposite, and surmised that his newfound love would make him more dedicated than ever before. As for me, though, well, I suppose I can see both sides of the argument. While one part of me is genuinely intrigued to see what would happen if they became husband and wife, another part is slightly fearful that a married Batman wouldn’t be the same! 

Although, if truth be told, I’m more for it than against it! After all, the last time they were married -- yes, they have been married before -- it was in the comic book, DC Superstars #17,  circa 1976, where their Earth-Two counterparts decided to retire, tie the knot, and finally have a child together. Namely, the masked vigilante, The Huntress, the Earth-Two Huntress, AKA Helena Wayne (now Bertinelli), who took on this mantle after her parents were tragically slain in the pages of Adventure Comics #462, dated March, 1979.

Besides, it would be nice to see how their union would work in this current day and age, what with the Internet, the current political climate, as well as all of those other gizmos, gadgets, and widgets, they didn’t have back then. Seriously, I could see DC Comics setting up a gala cross-over event where Mister and Mrs. Wayne -- Yeah, That sounds nice -- would have an argument of some sort, an argument about a current topic of note, which would prompt each member of the Bat-Family, one, by one, by one, to take sides and relay their point of view via their respective titles. We also have to consider that with marriage also comes divorce. So, for the sake of argument -- again -- if things didn’t play out to our liking, or should I say, DCs liking, there’s always a plausible ‘reset switch’ which should hopefully subtract as much as it should add. Know what I mean?

Either way, I suppose all of this speculation is somewhat moot after reading these two episodes of Batman! What do you think, dear reader? Do you like how issue 50 ended? Would you have preferred it if the story went another way? Or better yet, are you a bit like me, and enjoy seeing how things will play out, issue by issue, and try to appreciate the journey rather than the final destination? Personally, I’m fairly indifferent, more or less, although I would have preferred it if this ending were a little more final, resolute, rather than a stepping stone to another storyline. 

Part Two) IT'S GOOD TO TALK:   By now, I’m sure many of you have come to realize that Tom King prefers to construct his stories around dialogue rather than plot. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you. If anything, sometimes this spoken style of storytelling can be rather refreshing, hearing characters speak to each other instead of kicking each other in the face. 

Take issue 49, for instance, because more or less the overall plot was as thin as an anorexic on a diet, yet its main saving grace was following the engrossing conversation The Joker had with Catwoman. Granted, to get them both to this stage of the story, plot-wise, Tom had to devise a scenario where the two of them had to incapacitate each other so they could talk instead of fight. But then, when they did talk, all in all, yeah, it was good -- it was really good -- because reading their dialogue was very revealing indeed. In The Joker’s case, I loved the fact that his idol musings gave us another look -- or should that be, another bash? -- at his motivations and objectives. Whereas in Selina’s case, I loved knowing that she hasn’t forgotten her past yet still embraces her future.

We also have to acknowledge the pink elephant in the room! That being, if the Joker knows Selina is marrying Batman, then that would mean he’ll also be able to figure out his secret identity. But then again, is Bruce’s secret identity something his enemies are banned from revealing? Enemies such as Bane, Ra’s Al Ghul, Hush, The Riddler, and now, quite possibly, The Joker too!!! Also, I’m not sure if this is just me, but did you notice a weird, sibling rivalry, brewing between the Cat and the Clown – almost as if they were portraying a bastardized version of a brother and a sister relationship!

Come to think of it, in issue 50 it was also revealed that someone else also knows about Bruce’s secret. Someone, I hasten to add, that quite possibly led to the final fate of Bruce and Selina’s union. In all fairness, though, and yes, without giving too much away, this part of the plot didn’t sit too well with me, no, not at all, because on an emotional level I don’t think that a strong-minded individual can be easily dissuaded with one simple comment (those who read this issue will clearly know what I mean).

Part Three) LOVE:   If you’ve ever had the pleasure of falling in love, then I’m sure you must know how all-consuming it can truly be. In my eyes, love is like a warm breeze on a fresh summer's day, or like a contagious disease that stays with you for as long as it takes. After all, when it’s good, it’s really good, and when it’s bad, it’s really bad, although that’s not to say that you should ever try to avoid it or take it for granted. 

Well, if you did do something like that, take love for granted, what would that say about you, both as a person or as a human being? Would it say that you’re insecure, misguided, or detached? Or would it say that you don’t know how to love because you don’t know exactly what it is? Sometimes certain people can get love confused with lust, compassion, and self-sacrifice, whereas others are unable to express love in a conventional fashion, and this makes them seem sad, lonely, and troubled souls, in dire need of some tender loving care.

Take Bruce, for instance, Bruce Wayne. Deep down inside he knows that there are people who genuinely care for his well being, both personally and professionally, people like Alfred, Dick, Tim, Damien, and yes, most notably Selina Kyle. And even though he does his best to show it in turn, in doing so, sometimes his compassion comes across as being too harsh, too honest, and too bold. 

Why is that though? Why does Bruce have difficulty connecting with others, despite the fact that he was able to form a number of 'family units' around him, such as the Bat-Family plus two versions of the Justice League? Yes. I know part of this is attributed to the loss of his parents! But what else? I mean, he’s not silly, he’s not arrogant, and he obviously knows right from wrong! That said, however, according to the writer, Tom King, the one thing he isn’t able to do is to manage and compartmentalize his emotions, and distribute them evenly between his work life and his home life. Well, if he was able to do this, and do it well, then I’m sure those people around him wouldn’t worry about his abilities to continue his crusade.

So, in conclusion, overall I’d say these two episodes of Batman were a pretty fine affair. Mikel Janin’s artwork was amazing, Tom King’s story had its moments, and as for those thirty-five special guest artists who pitched in during issue 50? Wow! All I can say is wow! As their work was bold, big, beautiful, and full of passion and love!

THE MUSIC:
For fairly sardonic reasons I’m now going to musically match up these two episodes to the following song harmonized by the Dixie Cups: ‘Chapel of Love’, circa 1964.




THE COMPARISON:
Did you know that confetti can be deployed in both a celebration and a tragedy? You see, during pagan times, a confetti-like substance was regularly thrown during rituals, sacrifices, and other religious ceremonies, in order to embrace life, death, or rebirth! So that is why I want to compare these two issues with -- yes, you guessed it -- confetti.

THE CONCLUSION:
At the end of issue 50, we finally find out what Batman and Catwoman decide to do next. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess what that could possibly be? Could it involve them…

  • Fighting crime.
  • Making a porno.
  • Walking away from each other.
  • Playing tennis.
  • Guessing each other’s weight.
  • Getting married. 
  • Getting a divorce after getting married.
  • Turning religious.
Nuff said. 

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