Every fortnight Tom King has been kicking ass with Batman. It also helps that his writing is accompanied by some of the best art in the business! This issue marks the end of his first year on the series and I don't know about you, but I'm hoping we get many more years of his Batman!
#24 is no exception to his talented story telling abilities- but rather than being big and crazy like anything from the Bane arcs or The Button, King has offered up another understated issue, allowing us to catch our breath.
Batman has had a lot to deal with recently and all of that means that we haven't had a chance to check back in with Gotham Girl. This issue sees Batman doing exactly that. It goes back and forth between Batman and Claire/Gotham Girl and Batman and Selina/Catwoman. It is great to catch up with these other characters. I'm really excited to see what the future holds for Gotham Girl and I will discuss Catwoman's future a bit later within this review...
There is an ongoing discussion about the lifestyle of someone like Batman, between him and Gotham Girl; why does he do it? Could he stop? He admits that he isn't happy with his life, even though he tries to be. It is a fascinating look into the mind of Batman, it is rare that he ever opens up like this! We know he is a tortured soul but it's kind of great to see him admit that. Clearly, recent events (such as encountering his father in the Flashpoint universe) have given him a lot to think about. There's a lot to take in and the issue is very dialogue heavy but thanks to the stunning artwork by David Finch and Clay Mann, you would hardly notice! If anyone has to write these discussion driven stories, I'm glad it's King. He really knows what he is doing!
And now, for SPOILERS (not the Stephanie Brown kind):
The issue concludes with Batman professing his love to Catwoman and then proposing to her! Which is crazy! I did not see that coming at all! It's all very exciting but I believe that ol' crafty Tom King is going to leave us with that cliff hanger as he goes back in time to tell the story of The War of Jokes and Riddles, which is the next arc and has been confirmed to largely take place in the early days of Batman.
Perhaps Bruce is truly going to try and give up the cape and cowl. Surely Batman Isn't the kind of man who gets married? So will he really heed his father's last plea? For Bruce to stop being Batman? I have so many questions! Perhaps the biggest question though... Is what will bring him back? We know that Bruce can't stop being Batman. He is one of the most popular characters of ALL time! DC wouldn't just let him retire.
But also, who's to say that Selina will even accept his proposal? She has a similarly dangerous lifestyle so who's to say that she is ready to settle down?
I'm giving the issue an A and the art an A+. I believe that if you enjoyed the short Rooftops arc from earlier in this run (like I did) then you will definitely enjoy this issue. If not, then you are unlikely to appreciate it. There is no action, so don't go in expecting Batman to be busting heads- we will inevitably return to that next issue though!