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Batman #43 Review

How will Batman and Catwoman overcome a world controlled completely by Poison Ivy?

The last issue of Batman was the cause for some contention in the DC fanbase. For starters, Batman took down Superman with a whistle.

Also, Catwoman high-kicked Barry, Wally and Kid Wally, three Flashes with control of the Speed Force, into unconsciousness. Troll-smiling the entire time.

I posted the linked image from above on Reddit and the moderator ended up nearly locking down the comments section because of how heated and disputatious the discussion got. (I’m of the viewpoint that Batman taking down Superman with a whistle and Catwoman spin-kicking the Flashes isn’t so much making the respective characters look bad — but rather, showing that Bat and Cat are adept at taking down mind-controlled versions of them.)

While Batman #43 doesn’t feature any story elements quite as controversial as the whistle heard ’round the world or Flashes getting spinkicked like fleet-footed punching bags, the conclusion to the “Everyone Loves Ivy” features its share of noteworthy scenes.

Here’s what I liked about Batman #43. First, skilled use of continuity. We gain vital insight into why Poison Ivy believes she’s justified in taking over the world and transforming it into her own planttopia, reasons which stem directly from the fallout of the “War of Jokes & Riddles”. Also, the key to countering Ivy’s plans hinges on someone very near and dear to Ivy’s heart.

Second, there’s a sequence where Poison Ivy, like the living embodiment of plant-life that she is, traps an errant fly between her thumb and forefinger like a Venus Flytrap and eats it. (Like I said for last issue, the type of Hitchcockian/Twilight Zone aberrance I get on board with.)

Third, Batman ninja-flips through a lofty hospital window, sticks the landing with a gymnast’s poise atop an Emergency sign and then slinks into the Batmobile while cradling someone in his arms the entire time.

Lastly, “Batman has a machine that puts his pants on. In the car. Batman’s crazy.”

That being said, there are some parts of the story I take umbrage with. Namely, just like we saw with the “I Am Suicide” and “I Am Bane” arcs, Batman’s ostensibly clever, calculated plan ends up being, once again, Batman taking inordinate amounts of bodily damage so that Catwoman can save the day with a well-placed roundhouse kick. Then Catwoman proclaims some variation of “It’s not impossible, it’s Batman.” Because Batman’s planning in King’s run leaves so much to contingency and places him at such levels of unnecessary risk (that other iterations never would), the result is less bad-ass, overcome all odds James Bond-esque and more plot armor-y.

What if Ivy had chosen someone else to perform brain surgery on Batman for instance? What if Ivy-controlled Superman had punched Batman’s head clean off instead of just making him a vegetable? I mean, those are some pretty glaring what-ifs, comic book logic or not.

Also, doesn’t anyone else want to know what happened to Johnny Suntres?

Is It Good?

Overall though, “Everyone Loves Ivy” is another enjoyable and exciting story arc in King’s run and one that further bolsters the beautiful synergy and loving relationship that King has established between Batman and Catwoman. And with the wedding finally upon us next month, that may be exactly what we needed — even more than another overly-impressive Batman prep-time feat.

Batman #43
Is it good?
Solid art from Janin, Petrus and Chung.
Another overall fun and exciting story arc from King.
King further bolsters the strong synergy and loving relationship between Bat and Cat.
Batman's plans are feeling less tactical and more plot armor-y than we've seen in the past.

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