Look, I’m just going to shoot straight with you… Batman #79 is completely skippable.
Tom King’s Batman is, understandably, a divisive book. I’m genuinely not a fan of most of his run, but last week was a different story. To the chagrin of many of you, I loved Batman #78. I thought it was a well-written dive into Bruce and Selina’s relationship, their complications, and their undeniable care for one another. It was an emotionally complex and careful story that felt incredibly real at times. Batman #78 is a genuinely good issue, and I will stand on my pedestal defending it for however long I have to. That being said… Batman #79 is nearly a complete waste of time.
If you were a fan of Batman #78, then you will probably read the first page of this issue and think, “Yes! We’re in for another great issue!” Well, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re not. This page, alone, carries a similar tone and carefully crafted subtlety found in the last issue, but the rest of the book reads as if King essentially approached it with the mindset of, “We’ll just say this, do this, have this happen, and move on.”
Like it’s the previous chapter, most of this issue is just Bruce and Selina talking… And almost none of it is important. Most of the book is Bruce and Selina debating whether it was “in the street” or “on the boat” for the millionth time. While we do get a definitive answer to this question – and even a new answer – I simply don’t care anymore. I’m over all of this nonsense. The very first time King used the whole “street/ boat” conversation, I thought it was clever. Then he had to start including it in every single issue, sometimes multiple times within the issue, and now I just wish the back and forth had never occurred. So, you can imagine how annoying this chapter must be to me when half of it features these two discussing this very topic. Even the payoff of the “street/ boat” debate falls flat.
To make matters worse, Bruce and Selina are having this conversation while working out together. I don’t mean training, or running, or hiking… No, they’re being one of those obnoxious couples who use their partner as a part of their workout. I let out a verbal, “Oh God…” when I saw this page. If this is what we have to expect from King’s Batman/ Catwoman, then I’ll pass.
If Bruce and Selina’s yoga session doesn’t make you slightly nauseous, then you can look forward to the reason Bruce and Selina are even on this beach. Yes, it’s so Bruce can heal, but this beach also holds the key to stopping Bane! So, what’s here that will allow that? Venom. If they can stop Bane’s venom supply, then they can stop Bane! Hell ye- wait… What? Since when is venom the key factor in this story? Am I missing something? Bane hasn’t been using venom this entire time. And are we really supposed to believe that Batman and Catwoman stopping a shipment of venom will turn the tides so they can win back Gotham when all of the other heroes were incapable of saving the city? Seriously… I call bull$#!^.
And, in what appears to be a shoehorned attempt to potentially repair outcry over the timing of Bruce and Selina’s interlude on the beach, this issue suddenly confirms that this takes place before the events of Batman #77. Convenient? I think so. What’s that, you think this was always intended to occur before Batman #77? Not a chance. If that were the case, then there would have been an editor’s note in Batman #78, or, preferably, King would have written this in proper order. Anyway, apparently, Alfred and Damian have been communicating with Bruce, which completely goes against what was established in previous issues. Honestly, this is just another example of King not properly working his stories. I appreciate the work that was delivered, but I desperately want this run to hurry up and end.
More often than not, the art is the highlight of Batman, and this is no exception. Clay Mann continues to deliver stunning work, I just wish it was partnered with a better script. I know there will be some gripes about the sexual nature of some of his panels, but I’m honestly not bothered by it.
I complimented Mann’s work last month because he had the difficult task of creating a visually intriguing product of two people who were talking. Well, this issue had to be even more difficult because most of what Bruce and Selina discuss here have no substance. There’s not much to pull from emotionally, and that only adds to the blandness of this chapter. If there’s one thing I’d like to see Mann work on a little, it’s how he draws eyes. This is a very minor complaint, but there are times where the eyes of his characters are completely lifeless.
Tomeu Morey’s colors are as glorious as ever! Honestly, this duo together is like a dream team. I love how Morey uses lighting to help create accents and textures to his work. And the purple tint to Catwoman’s costume – though subtle – made me incredibly happy! Great work all around in the art department.
- You want to read a pointless issue.
- Come for the art… that’s it.
There’s nothing of substance here. Whether you’re analyzing the conversations between Bruce and Selina or preparing for the upcoming battle, it’s all pretty bland and boring. There’s no benefit to reading this issue. No plot progression. Hardly any character development. No cool action. Just good art. Thus continues my love/hate relationship with Batman. (Love the art teams/ hate the scripts.)