Batman #36 review

Batman 36

Batman is engaged…and he hasn’t told his bestest bud Superman yet.

The issue consists of both Lois and Catwoman trying to get their men to call the other.  In turn, Batman and Superman tell their significant others why they haven’t, and then proceed to discuss the other man’s defining characteristics.  That’s pretty much the gist of this entire issue.  There is some minor villainy at hand that connects their two worlds together, but it ends up playing a far second fiddle to the primary objective of the story, and is really nothing more than a backdrop for their conversations.

The story opens with Superman stopping a train disaster from occurring.  And, the first thing that popped into my head was, “That’s got to be one of the most stereotypical things in the world to have Superman do.”  That, and stopping a plane from crashing.  I basically had a flashback to a year and a half ago when I reviewed the Dr. Pepper Superman prequel comic attached to Batman v Superman.  On the one hand, it’s nice to just see Superman doing what Superman does.  It’s familiar and classic.  On the other hand…another train disaster…  In this particular situation it works because you don’t really want the action to upstage the dialogue.  But I was still left feeling a little “been there done that”.

The Batman section is similar in that the action also conforms to exactly what we expect to see from a Batman comic: Batman leaping through the Gotham skyline, smashing through skylights, and beating up random hoods.  Personally, Ive been dying to get more stories that focus on these kinds of things.  Just Batman taking out drug dealers, gun traffickers, and muggers.  It just bummed me out that instead of having something like that be the main focus, it serves as a simple backdrop for the dialogue.  Oh, and just to be clear, I realize that these were actually the henchmen of the main villain for this issue, but their genericness still got me to thinking about Gotham’s less colorful problems and longing to see them take a more central focus.

Now that we’ve established the fact that the action elements of the story aren’t really where the story’s at, is the dialogue alone enough to carry the story?   Well, to be perfectly honest, it seemed a lot like the action. There wasn’t really anything here that I hadn’t heard before.  Almost as if King was taking all the most commonly known Batman and Superman tropes and throwing them together in some sort of summary on the characters.  As a long time reader, I just ended up feeling kind of bored.  I mean, did we really need to spend an entire issue going over stuff that I’d hope most readers are already aware of.  It was like a recap episode of a TV show that gave you all the pertinent info you needed so that if you hadn’t been following along you’d be caught up enough to understand what happens next.

While it didn’t do much for me, I’m obviously fully aware that some readers really needed this.  So, at least King was catering to that demographic.  And yes, even though I was bored by it, I do acknowledge that King did a good job summarizing it all up.  He also didn’t mess with things and try to put his own spin on it.  Instead, choosing to stick with the more established mindsets of the characters.  In this, I at least have to give King his due.  I’d also have to say that, while the regurgitation of all the info was old hat, at least King threw a somewhat interesting juxtaposition into it all.  Or perhaps, more aptly put, regardless of how different they are…they are still very much the same.

SHOW SPOILER ▼

Odds and Ends:

  • I thought Lois and Clark’s new apartment had a balcony…

  • Superman just casually enters the apartment building where Lois and he live.  There are people on the street!  And no one is reacting to this??  Earlier in the issue, both Catwoman and Lois make fun of how Clark hides his secret identity.  And, I have to say, making no effort to hide going home with his wife at the end of the day also seems a pretty poor way to hide his secret identity.

Recommended if…

  • You want a quick catch up lesson on who Batman and Superman are.
  • You like when a story delivers unwavering adherence to character tropes and cliches.

Overall:

This story delivers some very stereotypical content.  Not only when it comes to the action, but also with how broadly the characters are defined.  This is the kind of story I’d say falls into the “paint by numbers” approach.  It’s safe, it’s familiar, it doesn’t really push any boundaries, and it’s probably not likely to offend too many people either.  But since it doesn’t really take us anywhere challenging, it’s limited in its ability to entertain on a higher level.  And that’s ok.  Not ever comic needs to be the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.  Sometimes good enough is plenty.

SCORE: 7 / 10 

Around The Web