I’m at the point on Tom King’s BATMAN run where it’s a like-hate relationship. I like what he’s doing (one minute), and then hate it the next. This issue was one of those where I wasn’t going to bother checking it out, but the immense fan reaction to it had me scratching my head, “Hmmm, am I missing something glorious here?”
I look back on King’s last arc for this title, and I was left both disappointed and not surprised. Not surprised in the sense that it basically confirms my original prediction of this whole “She said yes” as a bit of a cash grab, which is backed by the prolonged way it’s being handled. And of course I was disappointed because there was a gigantic missed opportunity by not killing off a major character and allowing a story to spin out of it.
This being the first issue into the “Superfriends” arc, and of course when an arc starts off, I’m looking for a kick right out of the gate. You want something that hooks the reader, and I don’t believe this checks that category off.
The pace of the issue is quite slow, it does have a build feeling to it that something huge is going to go down, and there essentially is– but there’s no real payoff with Superman and Batman “one-punch KO’ing” two villains.
The highlight of this issue, which took up the whole thing in a double-edged sword type of way, was the parallel between not only Batman and Superman, but also Selina Kyle and Lois Lane. Seeing the two very different approaches, but yet ultimately the same intentions came off great. This (panels below) is the very reason I thought I might be missing out on something,
And as great as the parallels were, it left the issue feeling like it under-performed. You [the reader] weren’t given much– um, let me use a soup analogy here… Batman, Superman, Catwoman and Lois were the noodles, chicken, carrots and celery, and there was plenty of that. I’d argue an overabundance of that, and thus it lacked the broth. There wasn’t enough background to even it out, and to make you feel invested in the story.
This issue could’ve (and should’ve) easily been an at least two-issue mini-arc, and consolidating it down into one– it wasn’t enough.
Where this title has its high points, it roughly has as many low points that hurt the overall run (in my opinion), but the most frustrating aspect of King’s run is the issues that are set on “cruise mode” and seem to advance the plot nothing. They serve as nothing more than eye candy, and kick up the “member berries“. That’s what I feel this issue played as, despite the spot on depictions of the four — Batman, Catwoman, Superman and Lois — that’ll undoubtedly end up lost in the overall scheme of this arc.
Pick up this issue at your local comic shop, and BATMAN #37 on Wednesday, December 20th,
“SUPERFRIENDS” part two! The stunning conclusion to the two-part story. Torn apart by betrayal, Batman and Superman try to find a way back to friendship, to trust. Both understand that the future of the DCU depends on this relationship; both understand that without the help of the other, their lives will fall apart. And yet, one is still the spoiled rich boy, and the other is still the naive farm boy. Men from two worlds confront each other and try to see the hope behind the madness.