Part 2- The Death of the Batman-Hater: Batman #36 Review

Batman and Superman are investigating missing radioactive material with their respective romantic partners. While doing so, those same romantic partners, Catwoman and Lois Lane, are attempting to convince the two of them to reconnect in light of Batman and Catwoman's engagement. Neither Bruce or Clark are especially receptive to the idea, but circumstance may push them together regardless.

Batman #36 cover by Clay Mann and Jordie Bellaire
Batman #36 cover by Clay Mann and Jordie Bellaire

Welcome to Part Two of my Holiday Special. I'm sure you missed me. Plus, check out Part One, which was my review of Batman Annual #2, if you haven't done so already.

So, let's talk what has changed about my own perception of the Dark Knight Detective, the Caped Crusader, the Batman.

In short, this comic, Batman #36. This comic I'm currently reviewing helped recontextualize how I perceive the Batman. Well, this comic and Batman Annual #2.

That's the simple answer, but I'm not prone to leaving things at the simple answer.

Frankly, this shift has been coming for a while. Reading Bryan Hitch's Justice League gave me a different sort of Batman for the League. He was still a little bothersome in Justice League of America, but he's not too bad in that comic.

Plus, it began to seem a little silly to be so averse to one of the most commonly-printed characters in DC Comics. I haven't held an especially negative opinion of Batman in some time; I just didn't like him.

Dark Nights: Metal and the Nightmare-Batmen tie-ins did some of the legwork in my shifting opinion.

I also adore the Batman Arkham game franchise, with the exception of Arkham Origins, which is an absolute trainwreck It did have Deathstroke though

In any case, I've been replaying those games recently, and Arkham City and Arkham Knight did remind me somewhat of why I used to be obsessed with this character.

It is worth mentioning that Batman used to be my absolute favorite DC Comics superhero by a large margin. I used to adore him thoroughly, ironically for many of the same reasons I came to have a distaste for the character.

In any case, reading Batman Annual #2 and Batman #36 really pushed the change. I saw a different Batman. I finally saw the Batman that Joe Glass and many other fans see. I saw an emotionally vulnerable, truly human, and actually sympathetic character. He has a soft side and a warmer side beyond the grim cowl. Yes, you could argue his raising of the Robins has already shown that, but that's been lost somewhat in recent years.

In any case, this finally showed me that there are many different ways to perceive this character, and I was choosing to look at him in one of the most negative ways possible. I saw a grim, arrogant, and frankly obnoxious character pushed to be the best by a fandom absolutely obsessed.

Batman #36 art by Clay Mann, Seth Mann, and Jordie Bellaire
Batman #36 art by Clay Mann, Seth Mann, and Jordie Bellaire

I don't see him that way anymore. I choose to see the better sides of the character. Sure, he can be grim, but he can also be kind. H can be arrogant, but he can also be humble. Batman is a character all about adapting, and different situations bring those various sides out. Plus, great writers like Tom King and Scott Snyder are highly skilled at showing those various sides of the Bruce Wayne.

Is he one of my favorite DC heroes again? No, not yet at least. Do I still think he is way overused in the DC Universe? Yes certainly. Can he still be insufferable in the hands of the wrong creative team? Oh boy can he, but the same could be said of just about any character from any genre.

So that's how I've come to enjoy the Batman again. I still think there are some flaws in his common presentation, but I also choose to see how great a character he can be in the right light and the best hands.

Now, onto Batman #36 specifically. As always, check out Joe Glass' review of this issue too. As usual, I'm just following him. Plus, he helped bring about this transformation, so he deserves a lot of credit here.

I absolutely adored this issue too. I love the reluctant bromance between Superman and Batman. It's like they want to dislike one another, but they just can't help but get along. They have they're differences, but they're still just too alike to not be best friends.

The interactions between the World's Finest and their romantic partners are absolutely delightful. You see how they understand one another and why these couples work so well. Catwoman and Lois Lane can cut through the pretenses and exteriors of Batman and Superman to the sensitive people underneath. Plus, they know what these guys need better than they do.

It's also hilarious how Catwoman already knew Clark Kent is Superman. The already-famous elevator scene is fantastic too.

Batman #36 art by Clay Mann, Seth Mann, and Jordie Bellaire
Batman #36 art by Clay Mann, Seth Mann, and Jordie Bellaire

Clay Mann's artwork is absolutely superb to boot. He makes these guys look like the absolute legends that they are. He and Seth Mann's inkwork is actually really good too. There is a lot of detail and depth in almost every panel. Jordie Bellaire's colorwork plays off the Mann's style very well.

Needless to say, I highly recommend this comic too. Most people have likely already read it, but you should definitely read it if you haven't already. It's a joyous and excellently depicted celebration of these two characters.

So, this is it, the Batman-Hater falls at last. In his place is just normal (as possible) Josh. There is still one more part to this saga, and it's a review of Batman #37. Check that out when it comes up later today.

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Joshua DavisonAbout 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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