It’s been a while since I went through a Tom King-penned volume of Batman. My recent reading of The Button reminded me how much I like King’s work, and I know I had at least two trades of the stuff in my unread trade stack. Why not go for another?
And hey. the seventh volume is subtitled The Wedding. I am sure that will make everything better!
OK, truth be told, I was mostly aware how the wedding issue ended, so that wasn’t a surprise to me. I’m not that good at avoiding spoilers. Fortunately, I don’t mind so much if the trip there is worth it.
And, for the most part, this trip was worth it. The volume collects three storyarcs, though the last one is just the extra-sized #50 with the wedding where…you know, stuff happens. That one had a lot of nice work from guest artists as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle each waxed euphoric over their respective partner’s eyes and what they mean to each other. The eyes are the windows to the soul after all.
But, what else was there?
First was the highly controversial three part “The Gift” where Booster Gold tries to give Bruce the ultimate wedding gift–showing Batman what the world would have been like if his parents had lived–and finding the entire planet is kind of a hellhole. Most of the world’s superheroes are dead and/or insane, the Penguin seems to be President of the United States, Dick Grayson is a murderous Batman, and Ra’s al-Ghul rules the rest of the world. The problem is Bruce Wayne doesn’t care and won’t go back to the way things usually are. Booster’s gift doesn’t work out as planned, and his attempts to fix things keep making them worse. Now, Booster Gold is a character who can be prone to get-rich-quick-schemes, but he isn’t really a vacuous moron as he seems to be here. Therein lies the controversy. And I think the detractors may be right. I generally like alternate universe/timeline stories, so much of this worked, but the Booster thing largely didn’t.
But then there was the middle story, a two-parter where the Joker very violently requests to be Batman’s best man at the upcoming Catwoman wedding. Does Joker know Bruce Wayne is Batman? If he does, he may not care, and there is enough ambiguity coming to suggest very few people will know Bruce actually is married after everything goes down. The conflict between Batman and Joker is rather standard issue, but after Batman goes down and Catwoman swings in, both she and the Joker suffer serious injuries and do something I would have never seen coming: lie there and reminisce about the old days when the Bat-foes used to somewhat hang out together and plot against Batman. The idea that Joker and Catwoman might somehow be friends is just so odd, and yet somehow is just works here. It also raises a point first brought up perhaps in the aforementioned The Button: can Batman still be Batman if he’s happy?
So, I really enjoy King’s work, even if the Booster story doesn’t work as well as it could have. I’m sure I will get to the next one a big faster than this…maybe.
8.5 out of 10 fatal mail drops.