BATMAN #50 [Review]

Batman #50 Cover
Buy Digital Comic – $4.99
BATMAN #50/ Written by TOM KING/ Art by MIKEL JANIN/ Colors by JUNE CHUNG/ Letters by CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by DC COMICS

The Bat and the Cat are, to coin a phrase from Beauty and the Beast, a tale as old as time. For years we have seen them fight each other with both their wits and fists. Or claws. We have seen them flirt, court one another, and at one point make sweet monkey love on a rooftop. After years of chasing each other, romantically and professionally, Batman proposed to Catwoman and she said yes. For a full year, DC Comics has hyped this event as one of the biggest in the history of Batman. Honestly, it is a big deal. This is a couple that we readers knew were made for each other, so the news that the two were getting married excited many people.

However, the journey to the altar was not an easy one for the couple, particularly due to The Joker and his desperate plans to muck everything up. However, after defeating all the evils and obstacles that were thrown in their path, the big day is finally here. July 4th, 2018 marks the day that the two become husband and wife.

July 4th, 2018 will also be the day that many Batman fans will be reminded of those immortal words from Flavor Flav: Don’t Believe The Hype.

Batman #50 Page 2

While those words do indicate that there is disappointment around the corner, like paying good money to ride a haunted house amusement park ride and seeing that all the animatronics are broken and pathetic looking, not all is lost here. The design for Catwoman’s wedding dress is fantastic and will no doubt be replicated by many a cosplayer in the upcoming future. Also, the artwork for the main story by Mikel Janin is eye-pleasing, if not particularly ground-breaking, though it perfectly encapsulates a number of intimate moments.

For instance, there is the magical scene where Bruce finally reveals his choice for a best man. It is a touching moment where we see that underneath all the darkness and cold, Bruce does have a heart. It may have been a cheap trick to pull at our heartstrings, but it honestly worked and shows Tom King’s command of these characters.

King’s skill also comes out during the moments where we see the love letters Bruce and Selena have written to each other, in their heads if not on paper. These thoughts are revealed over the course of several splash-pages of our romantic duo, as depicted an all-star team of Batman artists. Beyond celebrating all the wonderful artists who have helped to shape Batman over the years, these pages offer a nice walk down memory lane as we see how various people have seen The Bat and The Cat over their long history together.

Sadly, some of the writing here is lost in translation due to the placement of Clayton Cowles’ word bubbles. Sometimes it is hard to track the direction of the writing. In some cases, the writing distracts from the artwork and you can’t decide if you want to bother reading the story and just focus on the visuals. The final effect reminded me of the movie The Matrix Revolutions, where I lost track of the story amid all the action and CGI and came to focus on how everything looked.

WARNING: SPOILERS to the ending of Batman #50 follow after this image.

Batman #50 Page 1

At first I was not going to discuss the ending in this review. However, since The New York Times decided the ending needed to be spoiled several days ago because of how horrible it is, I’ve decided that I can’t avoid talking about it either. Normally, I’d consider this sort of thing to be rude, but it this case certain things have to be said.

Batman #50 ends with a thud. A disappointing thud. A How I Met Your Mother final episode level thud.

They stand each other up at the altar. Bruce has second thoughts because he is afraid of having happiness in his life and Selena realizes marrying Bruce would take away the darkness that drives him.

As if this weren’t bad enough, there is a second plot-twist involving Selena’s best friend and wedding witness Holly Robinson and how she is apparently working with Batman’s enemies. This revelation loses any impact it might have had, as you’re too busy trying to figure out why Bane is sitting on a throne being flanked by a bunch of other characters – most of whom will be totally unrecognizable to the new readers this book is meant to attract and, presumably, inspire to keep reading this series on a regular basis. Even for those who do recognize these characters, it’s a distraction from what this book is meant to be about.

Writer Tom King, in my eyes, has failed Bat-fans everywhere. These “plot twists” smack you in the face, as you realize you were bamboozled by DC Comics into spending money on what comes across as a greedy cash grab with a horrible pay off.

If you still feel like buying this issue for the artwork or its collectiblity, remember the immortal words of The Brady Bunch patriarch Mike Brady: Caveat Emptor. Batman #50 is modern day snake oil in the form of a comic book. All the beauty in the preceding pages was sullied and rendered emotionally worthless by the ending. To continue The Matrix Revolutions analogy from before, if this comic were a movie, I would have thrown my shoes at the screen.

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