Writer: Tom King
Art & Cover: Mikel Janin
Variant Covers: Arthur Adams & Alejandro Sanchez, Jim Lee, Scott Williams & Alex Sinclair
Colorist: June Chung
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Special Guests: José Luis Garcia-lopez & Trish Mulvihill, Becky Cloonan, Jason Fabok & Brad Anderson, Frank Miller & Alex Sinclair, Lee Bermejo, Neal Adams & Hi-fi, Tony S. Daniel & Tomeu Morey, Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts, Rafael Albuquerque, Andy Kubert & Alex Sinclair, Tim Sale & José Villarrubia, Paul Pope & José Villarrubia, Mitch Gerads, Clay Mann & Jordie Bellaire, Ty Templeton & Keiren Smith, Joëlle Jones & Jordie Bellaire, David Finch & Jordie Bellaire, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, & Alex Sinclair, Greg Capullo & Fco Plascencia, Lee Weeks.
Publisher: DC Comics
I’m speechless. Completely stunned. Batman #50 brings to a close this first part of, according to writer Tom King himself, a 100 issue saga of the Bat and I’m in a lack of words of what to say.
In its 43 pages, with art drawn and colored not only by the main team, but also by several guest artists, we have an ode to the whole complicated relationship between Batman and Catwoman, with references to her first appearance, still in the 1940’s, to more modern interactions of the two main characters.
The storytelling is very dynamic, cutting between scenes of the preparations for the wedding and the bittersweet letters written by the bride and groom for each other, letters they don’t get to read but are presented to us in a heartfelt manner that – this is a true story – brought this humble reviewer to tears.
As a lifelong Batman fan, seeing a glimpse of light in the Bat’s dark and sad existence left me hopeful and happy. In the most soul crushing moment of the whole issue, Bruce asks Alfred if he can be happy. And Alfred, fulfilling his duty as a paternal figure in Bruce’s life, says that after everything he has endured, he deserves to. This only makes things worse.
Without giving too much away, the ending left me heartbroken. Part of me knew that it was going to happen, but when I actually read it, I wasn’t prepared.
I have no idea of what is coming next, but somebody better give back the heart that was ripped off my chest.
Review by Patricia Loupee
There’s a lot of buzz about this issue, rightfully so. The last year of this series has been building to this moment. And Tom King and his creative partners (a massive list that’s almost too big to name) really make it worth it.
MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW!
Batman and Catwoman have been treading water about the wedding, until one particular night they decide to make the plunge in a quiet, intimate ceremony. Bruce arranges the legal side of things, while Selina finds her witness (breaking Holly Golightly out of Arkham Asylum). The two get ready and have several wonderful moments both between each other, and with their friends. All of this is interspersed with gorgeous splash pages full of narration from Bruce and Selina in the form of letters from one to the other.
But things all go wrong at sunrise. Selina doesn’t show. The reason why isn’t completely clear (though it’s strongly hinted she had cold feet), but in the devastating final pages the truth is revealed.
Holly returns to Arkham, and descends to the bowels of the facility. There she’s greeted to an ominous gathering. Virtually all of Batman’s rogues are gathered together, surrounding Bane. “The Batman is broken,” he declares, twisting this entire volume of Batman onto its head…
King is playing the long game here, and the final pages are a gut punch in the best way. Honestly, the rest of the issue could be seen as a cruel twist of a fate, but revealing that Bane has been manipulating Batman since the beginning of the series is a genius move. This isn’t a twist for a sake of a twist or for the sake of maintaining status quo. It’s the next move in the service of the long-term plan for the story. It’s genius.
Beyond that, it was simply a well written story. The letters Bruce and Selina write are amazing, and truly encapsule their decades-long relationship. The relationship between Bruce and Alfred is also so wonderfully written here. It’s small and simple touches, but they hit important part of the relationship so well.
Mikel Janin and June Chung draw the main story, and it looks fabulous. Janin is able to convey emotion so well, and both characters feel so real. It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a mark of a great comic art that they can draw the punching as well as the interpersonal drama. Janin is a superior presence here. June’s color palate is muted, and in this case it conveys the beauty and love between these two. It just looks great.
And the splash pages? They’re FANTASTIC. There is not a single splash that is not worthy of being framed as a fine art print. I have favorites (Tony Daniel’s immediately comes to mind, as does Joelle Jones’), but all of them are so good.
Don’t believe the negative hype. This is Batman at his best, and it brought the best out of everyone involved. I’ve only given this rating a couple times before, but in this case it’s well deserved.