Tom King has done a truly exceptional job on his run on Batman. I love his Mister Miracle stories as well. I feel a need to open by stating those things, because now I will put my head into the public guillotine and admit, I was truly disappointed by Batman 49.
Let’s start on a positive note. The art is wonderful. Both the Joker and Catwoman look great, the faces are wonderfully expressive, and the crumbling church is rendered in exquisite detail.
I can also praise King’s dialogue. I find no issues with it at all. Both characters were fleshed out well. The Joker and Catwoman were the first two of Batman’s enemies to meet, waaay back in Batman #4 in the 1940s, and they never got along. The Joker makes some insightful observations about the effect Catwoman has on Batman, and why this is such a threat to the villain.
So where does my problem lie? The action, or lack thereof.
The fight between the two is really confined to the first few pages. From that point, until very close to the end, the two characters lie side by side, both wounded and bleeding, and converse about Batman.
And yes, as I said, it’s a great conversation. The art is so good that the panels all are visually appealing. But NOTHING HAPPENS. It made me long for the action to cut away to a different plot line, to watch people who were capable of standing and walking.
Mister Miracle also tends to be a very dialogue heavy book, in relation to the action, but at least Miracle and the others move from spot to spot, or the action cuts between them. Even in King’s run on Batman there has been a significant use of flashbacks to show action. But he does like to script like a playwright, and delve into conversation. I have defended this before, but for once, I have to take the other side of the argument.
I hate being critical of something that has such quality to it. And geez, it’s the last issue before the wedding. I am so pumped and excited for that! It crushes me to not enjoy the issue right before it. Perhaps that is why I feel so let down by this particular issue. I just wanted to love it so much.