Batman #49 Review: A Chat Between Old Frenemies

[rwp-review-recap id="0"]

Catwoman ambushes the Joker in the church. Batman is still incapacitated, so it's up to Selina to bring down the Clown Prince. The battle is swift and brutal, with Catwoman's stomach shot and Joker's neck slashed. Neither is in the position to finish the other off, so they do what they did in the old days. The two rogues talk.

Batman #49 cover by Mikel Janin
Batman #49 cover by Mikel Janin

It's hard to know what to expect from a Tom King Batman book. You can have expectations based upon previous installments, but he still finds a way to catch you completely off-guard.

For example, I wasn't expecting this to be a book-long chat between Catwoman and the Joker. That was not anywhere near my first guess.

It was great too. This book was a thoroughly enjoyable chat about the old days, Batman, and why they're doing what they're doing right now. It's funny and charming while still being unnerving.

You may be wondering why they don't just try to finish each other off even though they're wounded. That's given an explanation, but it doesn't stand up to logical scrutiny. Essentially, Selina and Joker are trying to compress their respective wounds to slow the bleeding. The comic doesn't specify a time frame, but "Later" transitions are given from scene-to-scene. I'm pretty sure they would just bleed out regardless. That said, the dialogue was fantastic, so the possible logical frailty didn't take me out of the book. Conversely, I don't blame anyone for being bothered by that.

Batman #49 art by Mikel Janin and June Chung
Batman #49 art by Mikel Janin and June Chung

Mikel Janin once again delivers a gorgeous issue providing a detailed world with a distinct texturing style. It makes the Joker look even more human and, consequently, even more disquieting. A lot of effort is put into depicting the carnage around the two wounded characters, which the tone benefits greatly from. June Chung provides a cold and heavily contrasting color palette, which also adds a lot to the book's visuals.

Batman #49 is a strangely beautiful issue that finds Catwoman and the Joker reliving the old days of crime in Gotham and their attempts to capture the attention of the Dark Knight. The dialogue is great, and the conversation serves as a semi-metanarrative about the Batman mythos. This one comes recommended. Give it a read.

[rwp-review-ratings id="0"]
[rwp-review-form id="0"]

About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.