Batman #49 review

It’s Catwoman to the rescue!  Will the Clown Prince of Crime come out on top and ruin the soon to be wedding nuptials of DC’s hottest power couple, or will Catwoman prove to the Joker that you simply don’t mess with a woman’s wedding?

The basic synopsis of this issue is as follows; Catwoman and Joker simultaneously take each other out and then spend the rest of the issue talking about random stuff while they grasp onto their mortal wounds in an attempt to stop from bleeding out.  Did I just ruin the entire issue?  No, I don’t think so.  Because while them both simultaneously executing a kill-shot on one another was a bit of a surprise, I think the real story here is meant to be in all the arbitrary dialogue that follows.  And personally, I wasn’t much of a fan.

The story opens with the Joker reminiscing about the good old days.  He reminds us of how simple it all was, and yet, it was still a great deal of fun.  In my opinion, this seemed like a really odd play for King to make, because instead of me thinking about the story he was presenting, I started thinking about all these past stories I had read that I liked a whole lot better than this.  It made me think about all the times that King has tried to over complicate things in order to make them seem more grand and how even though King always tries to honor the frivolity of some of Batman’s past exploits, it often seems to butt heads with the more serious tones and subject matter that most of his stories attempt to tackle.

From here, things suddenly kick into high gear as Joker unexpectedly springs into action.  This ended up being my favorite part of the story, which is odd, because I usually prefer character moments arrived at through dialogue as opposed to straight up action.  But seeing as how I found their later interactions wanting, this was the highlight for me.  As fights go, it’s pretty simple; dodging bullets, somersaulting through the air, and some whip around ankle action.  But as King already pointed out, sometimes it’s the simplest things that can be the most fun.  When fighting does occur in comics, I prefer the sequential moments detailed in each panel to be relatively close to one another so you can really follow the flow of combat.  And that’s pretty much what was delivered here, so it made me happy.

What was kind of shocking was the fact that Catwoman went for a killing strike against the Joker; Joker shoots Catwoman in the gut, while Catwoman slits the Joker’s throat.  Considering how much time King spent in his run to establish the fact that Catwoman wasn’t a killer, I find it extremely odd that she would attempt to kill Joker.  I mean, Batman knew she hadn’t really killed those 237 people, and then there was another whole arc spent trying to exonerate her.  Furthermore, what is Batman going to think when he comes to and finds out that Catwoman slit Joker’s throat.  I mean, isn’t he going to be angry about this?  He detests killing for any reason.  Even if it’s to save someone.  Whether or not Joker lived or died from the wound, I simply can’t see Batman being ok with Catwoman using lethal force against the Joker.

From here on out it’s all random chit chatting, and while I didn’t care much for their conversations, I did appreciate the way in which they were interacting.  You can’t really say that they are old friends or even old enemies, but there was an interesting level of respect and understanding that seemed to be shared between the two of them.  And that I appreciated.

A lot of their conversations seemed like things a group of comic fans might discuss late at night after sharing a few beers and a pizza together.  In that sense, it did kind of seem to me that these were ideas King may have indeed lumped together after having just such a session.  Considering I’ve had some of these conversations myself, I didn’t really feel that they were conversations not worth having, but I did feel that some of them seemed out of place for these two characters to be having.

It’s just that sometimes I feel that King blurs the line far too much between what we think of these characters and what they think of themselves.  Kind of like that whole thing in his run were Batman debated the absurdity of dressing up like a Bat.  We might see the oddity in it, but to him, it is completely normal and questioning such a thing puts his whole reality into question.  It’s just stuff like that, which is also on display in some of the conversation in here, where King doesn’t bother to separate the thoughts fans might have about these characters from the thoughts they have about themselves.  And that kind of irks me from time to time.

While King seems to hold an extensive knowledge of Catwoman history, I don’t think he is all that well versed in some of the other characters.  From reading interviews and having one-on-one conversations with the man, I actually know this to be true.  So, when I see something like where Catwoman and Joker are debating why Penguin has umbrellas, it makes me wonder if the characters don’t know the answer to this, or if the reason they don’t kow the answer to it is because King simply doesn’t know the answer to it.  In this instance, I don’t know which is the case, but it pulls me out of the story since I am forced to debate with myself which is the case.

On a personal note, this bugs me a lot because I love seeing people kept in the know about Batman facts.  So, regardless of whether or not King knows the answer or not, it bugs me that it raises a question that some readers may not know the answer to and doesn’t bother to answer it.  So…Penguin is a name that was given to him as a child because of his awkward walk; he waddled like a penguin.  He was also a sickly child and carried around an umbrella so that he wouldn’t get caught in a rainstorm without one and catch a cold.  So, you see, the linking factor between penguins and umbrellas doesn’t have anything to do with what Joker and Catwoman were talking about.  They are all specific factors that are part of the past of Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot (Penguin’s real name) that coalesce to form the identity of the Penguin.  I can totally see how these two wouldn’t be privileged to the information surrounding Oswald’s childhood, but it still bugs me that the truth of the matter isn’t apparent to the reader.

Past all the random dialogue, I really didn’t appreciate the major hook of the story either.  Essentially, Catwoman wasn’t a happy villain because she is only happy when she wins and she never won because Batman always beat her.  But in the end, she beats the Joker, and starts cackling like a maniac.  It’s just…weird.

Meanwhile, Batman is babbling in the background about something that didn’t happen.  No, Batman.  You got hit by a bunch of rubble.  I think getting hit by all that masonry has given you a concussion.  At least, that’s the explanation I’m coming up with for why you are talking nonsense.

The Joker’s point is definitely more clear.  If Batman is happy, he can’t be Batman.  And if he isn’t Batman, life won’t be fun anymore.  I’d have to agree with that.

Past the contents of this issue, I have soooo many questions going into next issue that simply haven’t been answered.

  • Does the general public know Bruce Wayne is marrying Selina Kyle?  Like, is it on TMZ and stuff?
  • Does the general public know Selina Kyle is Catwoman?
  • Since Holly was never arrested, doesn’t that mean people still think Selina/Catwoman killed all those people?
  • If people do know all this stuff, wouldn’t that raise a lot of questions as to why Bruce Wayne is marrying a murderer?  And even if she isn’t a murderer, why would he be marrying a notorious thief?

It’s all just very weird and unclear because I don’t feel like King has spent any time really establishing the bigger scope of things.  He focuses so much on these smaller interactions and ideas that the larger picture is left completely undefined.  Going into the wedding issue these are all things that should have been made clear, as the vagueness of them will simply have me asking questions instead of enjoying the issue.  And, like, what is the resolution to what just happened here?  Is Joker dead?  Is he alive?  And what does Batman think about Selina’s use of lethal force.  Soooo many questions, and not an answer in sight.

Odds and Ends:

  • Remember that stain glass window Batman crashed through in the previous issue that kept switching back and forth between being shattered and whole.  Well, it’s whole again in this issue….
  • Joker is holding a six shooter, and yet, he fires the gun 15 times while trying to shoot at Catwoman during their opening scuffle.  I wouldn’t have really thought anything about it accept for the fact that later on they make him reloading the gun a major point within the story.  I have considered that perhaps all the “bangs” were merely echoes since they are in a giant cathedral, so I’m not really holding too much against this since it does have a possible explanation.  But still, it was something that gave me pause, so I am mentioning it.
  • I think it’s safe to say that when Catwoman says that Two-Face is underrated, it might be King’s opinion on the matter as well.  What do you think?  Does this mean we are getting a future Tw0-Face arc from King?
  • Of all the conversations they did have, I did like the one where Joker asked if she would help him reload his gun so he could kill her.  Such a Joker thing to do.
  • Death is the punchline to the joke.  Is that King’s way of trying to say “Killing Joke” without actually saying it?  Whereas, “I held him as the rain came and we laughed”, is a direct reference to events from The Killing Joke.
  • Edward’s theory on Joker that is discussed in this comic is actually King’s theory on Joker.  King said as much at Comic Con 2017.   Catwoman responds to the theory by saying she can’t take Edward seriously.  Is that King acknowledging that most fans don’t take the theory seriously?  Maybe.

You mean like this:

  • Granted, that is from a dream issue, but I think it’s odd how DC and fans are acting like next issue will be the first time these two have ever been married in continuity before.  Earth 2 Batman and Catwoman got married and had Helena.  I’m sure some of you don’t think that counts because it’s Earth 2 Batman, but you need to remember that Earth 2 Batman pre1985 is actually the original Batman.  Original Batman was relegated to Earth 2 the first time DC decided to reboot things (and I’m talking pre Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot).  At this point, it may not be continuity any more, but to say they never got married in continuity just because that continuity no longer exists is misleading and dismissive.
  • The Joker talks about giving Batman meaning.  Personally, I think it is the other way around.  I’ve never felt that The Joker was Batman’s greatest adversary.  Most recognized, certainly, but it’s not like Batman became Batman to stop Joker.  He became Batman to stop crime.  Crime, in general, is Batman’s adversary.  But Batman is Joker’s greatest adversary.

Recommended if…

  • You like following someone’s random train of thought.


The majority of this issue is nothing but dialogue, which isn’t typically a bad thing, but in the case of this issue, it is.  Most of the conversations that occur are completely random and inconsequential, occasionally feeling like they are simply there to fill up pages.  Other things broached within the conversations are ideas that we have seen explored before (and with more skill), and still others seem like things that belong in a fan group discussion as opposed to something that should be shared between two characters within the confines of their own story.  Essentially, it’s a bunch of jibber-jabber that ultimately doesn’t amount to a hill of beans and doesn’t push our story forward in any relevant way that prepares us for the wedding issue.

SCORE: 5 / 10