Batman #45 Review
Batman #45 marks another step forward to the joining of Batman and Catwoman in holy matrimony. The next couple of issue will be various people in Batman and Catwoman’s life offering wedding presents to the couple and Booster Gold definitely didn’t think his through.
Writer Tom King and artist Tony S. Daniel take a bit of a detour and gives the audience a taste of a disturbing “what could’ve been” future. One where the Joker’s laughing gas toxin runs rampant in Gotham City causing people to suddenly become psychopathic killers, Dick Grayson is a gun-toting Batman, and Bruce Wayne’s parents are alive. As a warning to readers, there is a disturbing death at the very beginning of this issue that may turn off readers who have an aversion to seeing suicide. King gives a short tour of this future, showing where a majority of the Bat-family is in the world, some funny and some creepy. Sadly, Catwoman’s alternate future persona is absent from this issue, but its most likely that she’ll appear in the next issue. The world raises some interesting question as to how things got this bad, but that’s not the focus of this story and King doesn’t divulge any details. This is a cool world to theorize about, connect the dot, and talk about with other fans. As cool as it is, it's probably best not to make a huge story out of it. The point of this world, and this story, is that Booster Gold has a present for Batman.
Booster Gold is, of course, his usual funny self, although in certain scenes his flippant attitude is a bit unsettling. The back and forth between he and Skeets, his time-travelling robot companion, is quite funny and it makes a case for his own series by King. Although Booster’s present results in an entertaining future, it's odd that Booster thought this was a good idea to begin with. His present is a reference to the Alan Moore classic Superman tale “For The Man Who Has Everything” wherein Superman is “gifted” a parasitic plant by the villain, Mongrel, making him him believe that Krypton wasn’t destroyed and he lived happily on it. In the end, Superman’s perfect world is shown to not be as idyllic as he’d hoped and realizes that, despite the tragedy, he should appreciate the life he has now. Booster wants to “gift” this revelation to Batman by going back in time and saving his parents from being murdered. What’s odd is that in a recent arc with Superman and Booster Gold, Booster reprimands Superman for trying to go back in time to witness the destruction of Krypton. It creates a weird continuity error that muddles Booster’s character.
Tony Daniels’s pencils and Tomeu Morey’s colors are a delight and elevate an already entertaining story. Daniels’s art really compliments this gritty and broken future and Morey’s lights and shadows deepen the texture of characters and scenery. The art does feel a little cramped with pages having a lot of panels and no splash pages. It doesn’t have room to breath and take in the world especially since its likely the story won’t focus much on the world itself.
Batman #45 continues the title’s procession down the aisle to DC’s biggest wedding. As it gets nearer one hopes that the actual execution of the wedding is worth all this build up. For context this plot point has building since issue #24, so if this all falls flat, it has the potential to paint the lead up in a negative light, even with solid stories such as this. That being said, issue #45 is the start of a “fun” Booster Gold story, despite some glaring issues with recent continuity. There might be a chance that some elements of this future could bleed into the main timeline, because everyone knows that nothing’s ever quite the same after time is messed with. If you're looking for a brief, but interesting “what if” story featuring Booster Gold, definitely give this a read.