The conclusion of last month’s Batman saw The Caped Crusader lip-locking with mass-murderer Catwoman as they sailed towards the horizon in a giant bubble-gum raft.
So I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious.
And despite Catwoman resembling a pasty, homuncular Renaissance baby on the cover, Batman #14 looks like it’ll be continuing on that romantic path.
Batman #14 (DC Comics)
Batman #14 begins part one of “Rooftops,” which brings Catwoman and Batman back to Gotham City for a tale of romance. As you might have guessed, Netflix and chill aren’t on the date menu, but some courtship activities the two vigilantes find much more preferential: crime-fighting, skyscraper parkour and home invasion to name a few.
Writer Tom King’s weaves a narrative that builds on the strongest element from his“I Am Suicide” arc: the interplay between “Bat” and “Cat” (pet nicknames that take on a decidedly more dirty tone by issue’s end). More impressive than the two’s sexual chemistry however is their efficacy as teammates; although a character as tricky and capricious as Catwoman would suggest glaring dissonance with Batman’s fighting methodology (like her “double cross” of the Dark Knight during “I Am Suicide”), there’s no such intimation here. King instead presents this slightly different dynamic duo as nothing less than a well-oiled machine; of such close rapport that they’re able to dispatch of the villains without uttering so much as a “Crap, that didn’t work. Let’s do it this way,” or indeed, even a single word at all. This is King’s way of showing us that not only do Catwoman and Batman connect mentally, but physically as well, and he pulls it off in masterful form.
Although King tosses what is primarily a medley from the lower rungs of the Batman’s Rogues Gallery ladder their way, the two’s impressive energy and esprit is never diminished. An especially striking eighteen-panel grid in the issue’s second act intersperses close-ups of the two as they pulverize villains such as Kite Man, Film Man, Condiment Man, and King Snake in facile, almost perfunctory fashion, with single-shots of the Bat-Signal to clever comedic effect. “Is this every night?” Catwoman asks, while delivering a jab to Magpie’s cheekbone. “No. Not every night,” Batman replies matter-of-factly, boot planted firmly upside Signal Man’s jaw. “Most nights.”
Which brings us to artist Mitch Gerads, who has worked with King before on Sheriff of Babylon. Gerads is deceptively good in this issue — I say deceptive only because at first glance his cel-shaded figures seem rough and his Gotham City bleared by an omnipresent fog-haze. But after the first few pages, his impeccable shading and coloring imbues Gotham and its constituents with such a staggering sense of authenticity and immersive atmosphere that you’ll be fiending for more of his unique style by the last. I can’t remember the last time I was so impressed by the Bat-Signal, the Gotham cityscape, a handful of diamonds or a starlit sky (my apologies to Van Gogh), which speaks volumes for Gerad’s attention to detail.
And just look at this panel of Batman, eyes aglow as he skulks among the whorling gears in his fight with The Clock King. Bad-ass.
Despite all the good to be found in this issue, there are a few bits that irk. First, I’d be fine if I never heard Batman and Catwoman refer to each other as “Bat” and “Cat” again. Second, the recurring use of Kite Man is funny, but we don’t need to turn him into Kenny McCormick. Third, the relationship between Batman and Catwoman is so fun, so idyllic and so downright charming that you just know s--t is going to hit the fan soon — and, call me a romantic sap, I kind of want to see Batman and Catwoman happy in that regard, if only for a little longer. (That whole 237 murders thing isn’t just going to be alluded to forever.) Also, does Batman’s prep time mastery… extend to packing Trojans in his utility belt? I’d say yes, but we’ll know for sure in 9 months.
Is It Good?
In Batman #14, King’s spirited narrative and Gerad’s immersive art combine for the sort of timeless Batman tale any Bat-fan should be happy to read (and gape at) again and again. Those of you hoping the enigmatic circumstances surrounding Catwoman’s prison sentences would be cleared up in this issue will still have to wait, but the rapport King has established between Batman and Catwoman is so lively and absorbing that you won’t mind sticking around another issue (or three) to find out.
Also, Reddit usser zombiebillnye, I gotchu fam:
Bruce refers to Selina as “Cat”: 4 times
Selina refers to Bruce as “Bat”: 3 times