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BATMAN #68 & #69

[ LOVE IS IN THE SALE
There once was a bride and a groom, who were constantly full of pride and some gloom. So what did they do? They didn’t have a clue! Until they found out what to do in the bedroom! Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Tom King, Amanda Conner, Yanick Paquette, and published by DC Comics in April, 2019.

TO QUOTE Blackadder:Never use the word 'party' as an adjective’. 

THE REVIEW:
Have you ever wondered what Bruce and Selina got up to on the day before their planned wedding? Oi! Cut that out, you dirty, dirty sod, because even though Bruce likes cats, he’d never, ever do something like that to Selina’s... uhh... meow-meow! 

Instead, the two of them do something far more pedestrian, and it involves them both having a bachelor and bachelorette party with their closest friends, namely, Lois Lane and Clark Kent. So while the girls go off and get pissed inside Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, the boys, on the other hand, have a nice polite dinner and a chat inside the stately Wayne Manor

Boring, I know, but then again, this is a fairly boring story. So boring, in fact, that in the very next episode, we get to see Bruce dance with Selina while Bane has a fight with Bruce’s Dad. Want to know more? Then please pick up issue 68 and 69 of Batman today. In the meantime though, here, check this out…

Part One) MANTOO:   Out of curiosity, how would you define Bruce Wayne’s personality? Well, would you say he’s a fairly stoic character who’s intelligent, driven, and moderately charming whenever the need arises? Or alternatively, would you call him a one-dimensional archetype who’s devoid of any sort of charisma whatsoever? Go on, tell me which one you’d pick, keeping in mind that if you selected the latter of these two options, Bingo, you might actually enjoy reading issue 68 of Batman! 

Well, in fairly simple terms, this semi-self-contained storyline depicts what Bruce, Selina, Clark, and Lois, might have got up to on the eve of Bruce and Selina’s wedding day. Yet, for all intents and purposes, the whole staged scenario made the two male characters seem like a right boring bunch, while the two female leads seemed an awful lot bubblier in comparison! Almost as if both parties were diametrically opposed when it came down to having some good old fashioned fun-fun-fun!

But, if you think about it, is this really an accurate portrayal? Because as far as I’m concerned, no, no it's not! As much as I admire Tom King for trying to write something new, fun, and jovial by design, in the same breath, his execution of this gender-spliced-situation played out in a very overt and blatant fashion. After all, Bruce isn’t boring, not totally, anyway, but he is a very stern individual with a rather dry sense of humor. Whereas Clark, on the other hand, isn’t placid, but he is a country bumpkin with a somewhat simple outlook on life! And as for the two ladies? Well, in their case, I don’t think either of them desperately needs to find friends or yearn for an obvious alcoholic release. 

Although, on second thoughts, I did prefer reading their part of the plot as opposed to those featuring ‘The Worlds Finest’, saying so because they were funnier, livelier, and chock-full of comic book related references and quips! Most notably, that part where the two of them got sloshed on, coff-coff, ‘Alien Wine’, as well as that sequence where they gawped at those three Superman Robots taking off their clothes, ha! That bit had me in stitches.

Having said that, though, I have to wonder if this would have been socially acceptable if the roles were reversed? With the sight of Bruce and Clark ogling a hoard of robotic women?  Personally, I don’t think it would, not totally, that’s for sure, and I completely understood why Tom shied away from doing something like this due to the current #metoo climate. Still, it’s well worth noting that what is right for one group isn’t necessarily right for the other, and that was also an additional element I wasn’t too keen on about this comic.

Well, let’s face it, why were the boys presented as a pair of placid plonkers while the girls were given gag after gag after gag? Especially when you take into consideration that Bruce and Clark have worked with each other for many many years, while Lois and Selina hardly know each other at all. But then again, that’s most probably why Amanda Conner drew this female-driven episode, as she does have that uncanny ability to elevate the tone of a story by injecting it with a huge dose of character, charisma, and charm. In fact, Amanda is such a great artist, I’d love to see her on this series again in the foreseeable future, along with...

Part Two) NO MORE TALK:   ...Yanick Paquette, who produced some truly magnificent artwork for issue 69! Although, in his case, Yanick‘s illustrative style conformed to Tom’s tale in a slightly bolder and more appropriate fashion. You see, without giving too much away, this subsequent episode was a tale of two equal halves, with one half focused on a lyrical discussion between Bruce and Selina (while they were having a dance), whereas the other half was centered on a brutal conversation between Bane and Thomas Wayne (while they were having a fight).

Yes. That’s right. I said, Thomas Wayne. Not the true Thomas Wayne, mind you. But rather, a version of this character who somehow survived the destruction of the Flashpoint Universe! Anyway, as I was saying, Yanick was able to draw these two sections by giving them both an aesthetic quality that blended in with their initial intent. For example, those scenes featuring Bruce and Selina were dream-like and elegant in tone because they were happening inside his head, whereas those scenes featuring Bane and Thomas were far more conventional by design because they were set in the ‘real world’. In a good way, of course, and with all due respect, despite the story in itself being a fairly straightforward one that explained the what, the why, and the how of this current Knightmares storyline. 

Now, if you don’t want me to spoil things for you, please look away as soon as possible, shoo, or scroll down to another section below, wheeeeee. Otherwise, allow me to 'break the ice' by defining this multipart adventure with one simple sentence: 'Batman is trying to overcome a supercharged version of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin that was administered to him by two people who want him to stop fighting crime'. Namely, his Daddy, Thomas Wayne, who wants to protect him from a life of loneliness and desperation; as well as his baddie, Bane, who wants to punish Bruce for what he and Catwoman did to him previously.

Although, between me and you, what makes this scenario somewhat difficult to swallow, is the fact that Bane and Thomas are working together as a team — I repeat, a team — considering that neither of them shares a mutual bond apart from their apparent connection to Bruce. What's more, I would also like to know why it's taken Tom King over seven consecutive issues to illustrate something which is usually depicted within a couple of pages? Heck, in the past, Batman has always been able to overcome the Scarecrow’s fear toxin with a modicum of fuss. Now, though, now he has to make himself more scared than he ever was before so he can finally escape from this trap.

I mean, seriously? Has it really come down to this? With Bruce mulling over his feelings in order to save the day? And if this is the case, why did he have to bring Catwoman into the mix? Particularly since he can draw from many other emotions that have also plagued him in the past! Also, why was Bane fighting in the nude when it makes him look like a right git? If he continues to do this, I'm going to start calling him ‘Captain Naturist’, ‘Nude Man’, or something that’ll make his winky shrink?  In any event, overall I wasn’t a huge fan of this story, even though I did love the artwork that accompanied it!

How about you, dear reader? What did you think about the art as well as the tone of these books? Are you a bit like me, and not too keen on the depiction of certain characters? Or alternatively, did you take them for what they were and left it like that? Either way, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

THE MUSIC:
As I was reading issue 68 of Batman, I started to wonder what type of song Selina would want to listen to during her bachelorette party. But then, lo and behold, it struck me, Bang, right in the doodahs, and that is why this month’s musical match up is going to be ‘Pussycat Meow’ by Deee-Lite




THE COMPARISON:
Actually, while I’m on the subject of songs, this topic brings me quite nicely onto what people do when they listen to them. Namely, dance, or in this case, dance like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, which is what Batman and Catwoman attempted to do during issue 69.

Comparison made! We may now take a bow.

THE CONCLUSION:
At the end of issue 69, Selina turns to Batman and says to him, what? What do you think she says? I mean, does she say something like…

  1. It’s time to go to sleep.
  2. It’s time to have a bath.
  3. It’s time to admit that Bane has bigger balls. 
  4. It’s time to wake up.
  5. It’s time to pay Alfred more money.
  6. It’s time for us to stop dancing and start singing.
  7. It’s time to shag. 

Nuff said.

BATMAN #68 & #69 BATMAN #68 & #69 Reviewed by David Andrews on April 30, 2019 Rating: 5

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