The Batman-Hater Holiday Special Part 1: Batman Annual #2 Review

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We are given a look back to the first encounters between the Batman and Catwoman, including some break-ins to the Batcave and Wayne Manor. We see how the characters first connected beyond hero/villain interactions.

Then we see the latter days of Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle. We see them married, how their relationship developed, and how they grow old together. We also get a vision of how it all may end.

Batman Annual #2 cover by Lee Weeks
Batman Annual #2 cover by Lee Weeks

Let's get a few things out of the way first. Firstly, welcome to my Holdiay Special! Reviews don't normally have Holiday Specials beyond best and worst lists, but I'm doing one anyway. We are nearing the end of the first calendar year of my time with Bleeding Cool, and some things have changed for me. Time and experience tend to do that quickly when you try something as new and different as writing for a major comic book news and reviews publication.

I've loved working for Bleeding Cool. Being able to read and talk about comics as a job is a dream-come-true for me. I hope to be on here for a long, long time to come.

Suddenly working on a far larger platform with a reputation all its own and a fanbase you're not too familiar with can encourage some…strange decision-making. Suddenly you're writing in front of far more people than your rinky-dink previous blog could ever attract. You want to stand out in peoples' minds and get them to look forward to your future articles. Plus, this is the internet, and what attracts people more than controversial opinions and a belligerent, stand-offish attitude?

My thoughts became, "Hey, I have a bunch of controversial opinions, and belligerence isn't that difficult of a put-on for my happy ass. People adore Batman, and he's everywhere. What if I put on a smug and snide persona that tears into some recent Batman comic books?"

That's not all of it, either. A general animosity towards the post-Gamergate world of internet dialogue didn't help. Internet comment sections have always been toxic, but they've gotten worse since 2014. I'd never really had an opportunity to rile up a comment section before, so I leapt a little too quickly at the chance.

Thus, the Batman-Hater was borne of latent anger, a need to grandstand and make an impact, frustration with the saturation of Batman, and a need to lash out at the amorphous, massive community of internet trolls in whatever small way I could.

Batman Annual #2 art by Lee Weeks (pictured), Michael Lark, Elizabeth Breitweiser (pictured), and June Chung
Batman Annual #2 art by Lee Weeks (pictured), Michael Lark, Elizabeth Breitweiser (pictured), and June Chung

This coalesced in a number of Batman reviews, the tearing into two Dark Days issues, and, to a lesser extent, the "Marvel Monsoon vs. DC Drought" discussions of the at-the-time wildly disparate character outputs of the Big Two. That last one is especially hilarious when comparing the outputs (or lack thereof) from the two publishers in the upcoming early months of 2018.

I would likely never write reviews like that again. I stand by the content of what I said, and I didn't alter or inflate my opinions for the purpose of the reviews.

However, I put them in a far more hostile way than I would now. I still have a propensity towards grandstanding and long-winded explanations of my opinions, as you can see. I can still be a sarcastic and smug bastard at times too. However, I am trying to reign those in for a more professional and clear style of review and editorializing.

So, that's how the style of my content has changed and will continue to evolve over time. However, something else has changed too, and that's my attitude towards the big, bad Batman himself. However, that will have to wait for part two, which will be coming up later today.

Now, onto my opinions of Batman Annual #2. As is often the case, I recommend reading the review Joe Glass wrote up for this comic as well. I know I am very late to the party on this one, but I still feel compelled to give my opinions. That's why we're here, after all.

Batman Annual #2 art by Lee Weeks, Michael Lark (pictured), Elizabeth Breitweiser, and June Chung (pictured)
Batman Annual #2 art by Lee Weeks, Michael Lark (pictured), Elizabeth Breitweiser, and June Chung (pictured)

In short, it is one of the most endearing and emotionally weighty comics I've read all year.

This is a heartwarming and heartbreaking dive into the beginning and end of the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. It is compelling, interesting, well-paced, and exciting.

The nature of the Big Two means you don't get many proper endings. Thankfully, some writers like Tom King here do take opportunities to show how things may end for our beloved heroes.

You can really get how the relationship between this two works, and it has had me more invested in the romance between Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle than I ever have before. It's elevated it to the likes of Spider-Man and Mary Jane, Superman and Lois Lane, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and Captain America and Sharon Carter for me. This is a couple that is meant to be, and I've never quite fell that way about the Bat and the Cat before.

Lee Weeks and Michael Lark give some excellent artwork for this comic. While their styles are different, they coalesce quite well. Both halves are gritty, detailed, and expressive of the world these two live within. The coloring of Elizabeth Breitweiser and June Chung is equally strong. Darker colors dominate the first half, and brighter shades rule the second. They contrast each other quite well, and they're balanced within their own sections well too.

And that's it for the first part of the Batman-Hater Holiday Special. This will almost certainly be the longest section. Part Two will be up later today and will be covering Batman #36, and it will also talk about how my perception of Batman has changed.

I also highly recommend Batman Annual #2, even though it's likely been bought by most of the people who would be interested. It's a heartfelt tale with fantastic art, and you should definitely read it if you haven't already.
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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.
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