Catwoman aka Selina Kyle has been accused of murdering 237 people and sentenced to death. Batman, with the help of “Bruce Wayne” was able to reduce the sentence to life without parole at the infamous Blackgate prison. Selina, emotionally vulnerable, asks Bruce for one more night together. So on a star-filled, cold night in Gotham, the Bat and the Cat set out on an evening together patrolling the streets.
After last month’s weaker conclusion to the four-part “I Am Suicide”, writer Tom King takes Batman into a new two-part story line. And although initially I saw this as a lighter story, I realized I was wrong about that. There IS levity, but the sentencing of Catwoman hangs over the whole issue like a Sword of Damocles.
The levity in the issue comes from the brief, but great cameos from some of Batman’s lesser rogues. In a fantastic sequence (each done in one page), Batman and Catwoman take down the likes of Clock King, Magpie, Gorilla Boss, and Ten-Eyed Man, among others. The fights are played for laughs, and the villains seem to pose no threat. It’s a great use of DCU history and a treat for C-list character fans.
But it isn’t all fun and games, as there is some great and mature dialog between Batman and Catwoman that really brings out their feelings for each other. The best example is the opening rooftop conversation. Catwoman has always been emotionally expressive, but not Batman. King really humanizes Bruce here and reveals that there is a deep love between these two that is complicated. It’s a very sensual scene in a very sensual issue. An issue that ends in one of the most romantic and passionate scenes I have ever read in a comic
The art chores on this issue belong solely to Mitch Gerads, (King’s co-creator on Vertigo’s Sheriff of Babylon) and he does an amazing job. His style is realistic and gritty, with amazing detail in the faces that really convey the subtle emotions at play between Batman and Catwoman.
His backgrounds also really paint the atmosphere of the night. There is a softness to the sky in this issue that gives it the magical and romantic feel needed. It’s still recognizable as Gotham, but it also feels “quiet” when the time calls for it, and Batman and Catwoman truly seem like the only two people in the world.
My favorite thing about Gerads art was the page design and structure. The scenes with all the C-list villains are told with identical nine-panel grids, and this repetitiveness brings out the humor and emphasizes how easy these takedowns are for Batman now. The dialog scenes are also very symmetrical, but told with longer panels, allowing for both figure and background to stand out, giving the emotions playing out a cinematic feeling.
The coloring, also by Gerads, is beautiful and just plain feels like nighttime. There is a lot of blue in this issue, but with enough variety that it’s not just one toned and boring. The colors truly capture that very specific lighting that only exists in the middle of a quiet, star-filled night.
I really enjoyed this issue, and found it a nice change of pace from the previous storyline. Tom King seems to be attempting to write a very fully realized and three dimensional Batman, and it’s working. He is also working with some fantastic artists that compliment each story perfectly. If you love Batman, it is a great time to be reading this book.