In Review: Batman #24

This was fantastic. Highest possible recommendation of the week.

The covers: The Regular cover by David Finch, Danny Miki, and Jordie Bellaire is beautiful, and that’s not a word often associated with a Batbook. Batman and Selina, both in their iconic costumes, stare lovingly into each others eyes: she is leaning into him, while he has a hand around her waist. This will make every child under ten scream in protest, but everyone else will overjoyed to see these two unhappy characters having a moment of joy. Complimenting their poses is the Batsignal behind them in pink. Yes, pink. It works. The variant cover by Tim Sale and Brennan Wagner is the cover I chose to purchase because it’s so stark. Using red, black, and white, these two artists have created a striking pose of Catwoman admiring her latest acquisition of bracelets and jewels, which she dangles from her right arm, while Batman is behind her, holding her in a headlock — it could be romantic, it could be something else. His cape covers a bit of there floor, where one of Selina’s cats sits looking at the reader, while Catwoman has her foot planted on part of the Dark Knight’s clothing. The characters are primarily in red, with white used for a light source to their left and as the background. This looks amazing. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A+

The story: Written by Tom King, this issue is broken into two parts: the first dealing with Batman talking with Gotham Girl about purpose while atop a satellite tower and the second at night as he joins Catwoman as she makes her way through a rainy Gotham. The summary gives no justice whatsoever to this tale because it addresses parts of Batman’s character that are usually left untouched. Gotham Girl is trying to decide between being a hero, when her powers will slowly kill her, or walk away from it all. After the events of “The Button,” where Bruce encountered his father on a different Earth who asked him to stop being Batman and just be happy, GG’s quandary is in line with Bruce’s thoughts. Pages 11 and 14 has Batman justifying what he does. I haven’t seen this character reveal this much in decades, let alone since Rebirth began. The final panel of dialogue on 15 spurs the Dark Knight to action in the night. Swinging between buildings, he and Selina flash smiles at one another before landing on a rooftop and he talks about the first time they met. Is this ending a gimmick? Could be. However, after hearing from his father, Bruce has been a little different. This issue shows how different he now feels. Kudos to King for making “The Button” actually mean something for the title character. I’m hoping this lasts, as long as things do in comic books. This is truly uncharted territory for Rebirth Batman, and I want this change in his — their characters to last. You’ve hooked me into following this title now, Mr. King. Keep it up. Overall grade: A+  

The art: There’s only one artist on this book, David Finch, but a trio of inkers: Danny Miki on 1, 4, 8, 10, 16 – 20 and Clay Mann with Seth Mann on 2, 3, 5-7, 9, 11, 13 – 15. The art is terrific with the contrast between the two parts of the story superb. Batman rarely works in the daylight, so it was good to see him having his honest conversation in the daylight. Though this dialogue is occurring atop an incredibly tall satellite tower where no one can see them, it doesn’t diminish the impact of seeing this iconic hero in the daylight where he still is an imposing figure. Gotham Girl is pure optimism, the complete opposite of Batman, and she revels her in abilities as she soars around the sulky hero. How each reacts to the other is a major component of their tale: she always seems to be looking him in the eyes, while he can’t look her in the face, unless it’s to be sarcastic or she confronts him. This staging of the characters really packs an additional punch into their scenes. The Catwoman scenes are what one usually expects: night time flights through the darkness. Finch with Miki does an exceptional job. The architecture in Gotham is staggering. I know I’m supposed to be looking at the brooding characters in the rain, but the city is astonishingly rendered. The characters look as though they’re flying as they leap and swing through the city, beginning with Catwoman leaving her apartment in Olympic fashion. Page 10 is a flawless full paged splash of the characters leaping side by side, in the rain with a bolt of lightening behind them, naturally. The smiles they flash each other demonstrate the joy they have in their abilities as well as being near each other. The last three pages are going to make every fan antsy in anticipation, with the last page, also a full paged splash, glorious. This is a beautiful looking book. Overall grade: A+  

The colors: Getting the opportunity to color the Dark Knight in two very different locations is the very talented Jordie Bellaire. Batman in the daytime can be tricky. If he’s too dark, he comes off as ridiculous looking, and if he’s too light, his costume won’t look like the same one when the sun goes down. Bellaire nails it. First shown in the daylight hours on Page 2, Batman’s costume looks perfect. More gray than black, which is how he should be colored, he looks as though he could hide in the shadows of the sun easily. Additionally, the colors Bellaire puts behind him are great: on 2 it’s the rust colored city, 3 is the blue sky, but on 11 he’s stunning with the sun behind him, its joyous rays a physical manifestation of how Batman can never be. At night, Gotham City is alive with lit windows, signs, and lightning. Pages 1 and 4 have Selina’s apartment lit from an outside sign in a spectacular violet. This same color is suggested with slight coloring for her goggles, though the blues in her eyes still resonate. Bellaire is a master of both the light and the darkness. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This issue contains an introduction, the story’s title, dialogue, issue’s credits, and the tease for the next issue, all created by Deron Bennett. Something that particularly stands out about Bennett’s lettering is the space between the letters and the borders of the dialogue balloons. There’s quite a bit of space and it gives every line importance, as if it’s got considerable weight. This is an important visual quality that his work brings to Batman, since his every word always holds much power. The story’s title and tease for the next issue are very strong and metropolitan: something someone would see on a marquee in Gotham. Bennett provides good visual punch to this issue with his contributions. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: I stopped picking up this title after the first six issues of its Rebirth because the stories weren’t grabbing me. The final page of this story was leaked online a few days before its issuance, yet I wanted to pick it up to see if it was any good. This exceeded all my expectations and has me now following this title for as long as this story line continues. This was fantastic. Highest possible recommendation of the week. Overall grade: A+

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Batman-2016-24/digital-comic/504938?ref=c2l0ZS9hamF4U2xpZGVyL2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC8xNzQ2Ng

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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