BATMAN/CATWOMAN #1/ Story by TOM KING/ Art and Cover by CLAY MANN/ Colors by TOMEU MOREY/ Letters by CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by DC BLACK LABEL
When Tom King handed the reigns of Batman to James Tynion IV in Batman #85, a cat-shaped parallel dimension was forged in a continuity that was abandoned for what would have been a push into the frontier of DC’s 5G project. With that, the roller coaster ride that is an 85-issue run of Tom King’s Batman continues into the infamous pages of DC’s Black Label line of mature stories.
So here we are, flashing forward into warm winter weather as an autumnal Selina Kyle cruises down the coast to visit an old friend. Interrupting the visit is a series of narrative jumps between today, the past, and the distant future. It is in this future that Selina reminisces with her friend. Pictures litter the living room of a quaint, mobile home retirement community. In this time we learn that her husband – the Batman – has died.
Flash back to today and Bruce is entertaining a visit from one Andrea Beaumont. Kudos to you if that name sounds vaguely familiar. Harkening back to their university days in Batman: The Animated Series, Andrea was one of Bruce Wayne’s first loves. Also, she was once known as The Phantasm. If you have not yet seen Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, you should hurry up and fix that. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.
Andrea shows up in these pages to plead for Bruce’s help; her son is missing. An investigation into his whereabouts ensues and takes both Batman and Catwoman from the realm of the Sewer King to the penthouse of Jimmy the Enforcer. We even get a few candid frames with the Joker in a rare connective moment.
Tom King tells a puzzling story that leaves you curious more than anything else. Being a Black Label story probably helps to remove some of the restrictions in his ability to tell the story that a mainstream continuity may impose. I am definitely interested in seeing where this one goes if for no other reason than to see more of these TAS characters!
Speaking of continuity, Clay Mann follows along for an amazing ride on this book. As usual, his work delivers a breath of life within the strokes that draws the reader into the pages. Fleshing out the work is Tomeu Morey with masterful strokes of color bringing the perfect mood to each scene.
Whether or not you loved King’s run on Batman you should give this one a go. Heck, give the first two a go. If there’s one thing he knows how to do, it’s turn a story on its side. With a bit of distance between his run and this story, coupled with the flexibility of a Black Label imprint, we should expect some interesting things from this arc.
Batman/Catwoman #1 is now available on-line and at Your Local Comic Book Shop.