Batman #39 Review
Batman #39 continues the exploration of Batman and Catwoman's relationship. This issue, however, sees them spending time apart. Writer Tom King introduces the character of The Gentleman and the concept of the Eternal Vow.
That vow is that the mysterious Gentleman will be in constant battle against the "hordes of Gehenna", which are creatures constantly trying to break into our realm. The Gentleman protects our world from them, and he has pledged thousands of years to this task and will continue for thousands more. This is an interesting idea, presented in an efficient way. Both Batman and Wonder Woman are aware of these circumstances and they have been called upon to fill in for the Gentleman. As you can imagine, they rise to the task.
This is a very different Batman story to what we are used to. It deals with alternative dimensions and mythical monsters, which makes much more sense with the Wonder Woman guest starring role. It's fun, I enjoyed it. There's humour, adventure and a pretty cool new armoured suit for Batman! Also, there's an exciting twist!
Many fans have had problems with the characterisation of Wonder Woman in this issue. It begins with Wonder Woman lighting the Batsignal to get his attention. This seems incredibly unnecessary, considering how they are meant to be close. Why not literally phone him? It's not like she is unaware of his true identity. Her reasoning is that she thought it would be fun... and although it's all very humorous, it is uncharacteristic of the Amazonian warrior princess.
There has been an outcry over her flirtations with Batman. I personally don't find it to be that problematic but I am also unsure of how I feel about the issue's ending. I wont discuss the cliff hanger, however, I feel like a lot of the controversy could be quelled depending on how King follows up with #40. At one point, Diana straight up confronts Bruce by stating "And here you are without her. With me." As if this is some sort of date? As if he chose this. It is made very clear in the first half of this comic that this is a mission. They are there to fight monsters.
After two strong issues of Superman and Batman spending time together, it is a shame that this issue doesn't support this Wonder Woman relationship quite as well. The brief Catwoman moments in this issue continue to be great and King has really made me excited for WHATEVER it is that this is all leading to (because I'm still not convinced that there will be a wedding).
The artwork also continues to be incredible. Jones draws very attractive characters. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm in love with this picture of Catwoman. I struggle to fault any of the art from this issue!
Overall, I found this issue to be just alright. While I didn't get as riled up about the Wonder Woman problems as some fans did, I can still see where they're coming from. I did enjoy the new concepts though and I am very intrigued by the cliff hanger! So it's a solid B+ from me!