Review: BATMAN/CATWOMAN #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
Colours: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman/Catwoman #3: It’s been the Joker all along, you see.
Selina Kyle knows this. Early in her career as Catwoman, he was there to mess things up for her. Same with later, when she and Batman were finally getting together…for the third time, but still. That time stuck. No thanks to the Joker. Or to Phantasm, who now has her sights set on Catwoman because she thinks that will be her in to get after the Joker herself. And she has to do it before Batman gets to him first.
In Tom King’s Batman saga, the biggest impediment to Bruce and Selina’s romance has always been the Joker. It was the Joker that convinced Catwoman to leave Batman at the altar. And now he’s causing trouble for their romance in multiple timeframes in this series.
In the past timeline, The Joker is threatening their newly formed relationship by revealing that Selina hasn’t completely given up her villainous ways. In the present, Joker has engineered a confrontation between Catwoman and Phantasm. And in the future, he still threatens Selina’s relationship with her daughter from beyond the grave.
Last issue, we saw Selina finally kill the Clown Prince of Crime. But in Batman/Catwoman #2 we see Bruce and Selina’s daughter, Batwoman, learning of the Joker’s death from Police Commissioner Dick Grayson. Helena then travels to the murder scene to investigate. If Helena is anywhere near the detective her father was, then she’s certain to figure out Selina killed him. And if Batman instilled his values in his daughter, then it’s sure to cause a rift between them.
Speaking of Dick, I was quite pleased to see him appear. Police Commissioner seems a fitting future career for him, considering that he did spend some time working as a cop in Bludhaven. And it’s sort of an interesting mirror to Barbara Gordon holding that office in the Batman Beyond future timeline.
I do find it intriguing that DC has multiple different future Batman-centric timelines at the moment. There’s this particular future, the Batman Beyond future, and the Future State: The Next Batman future. It will be interesting to see if the present-day comics give any indications of which future will eventually come about. At the moment, Future State seems the most likely, but it’s hardly certainty. I think it’s more likely that the question will never be resolved.
We really don’t know a lot about Helena, but it looks as if King is finally going to explore the character more deeply. While she has taken on the mantle of the Bat, I wonder how much of the Cat she has in her. I look forward to learning more about her.
With Dick having made an appearance, I hope we get to see other members of the Bat-Family, and get a glimpse at what they’re up to in King’s future timeline. One character I would love to see is Helena’s namesake, a.k.a. the Huntress. It would be fascinating to see the similarities and differences between the two characters, considering that Huntress first appeared in comics as the original Helena Wayne.
I quite like the way King is using Christmas carols as a motif through the series. It’s especially effective in Batman/Catwoman #3. Seeing the Joker singing the “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is especially jarring, considering that he brings discord and tragedy – the very opposite of “comfort and joy”.
I also have to commend the fantastic artwork from Clay Mann. I especially love the image of the Bat-Signal against a tall building. It brought to mind Frank Miller’s The Dark Night Returns. I also love Helena’s costume. The design brings together elements of both her parents’ uniforms beautifully into a unique outfit. And Mann’s Gotham City is breathtakingly rendered.
King’s Batman saga has been polarizing, but I’ve always enjoyed his take on the character. And I think even those who were left disenchanted by his run on Batman, should still check this series out. It may not be for everyone, but I urge those readers to give this series a try. They might be surprised to find they like it after all.
With Batman/Catwoman #3, the threads are starting to weave together. It’s still too soon to see where King is taking this story, but so far it’s a fascinating journey. With top-notch work from King and Mann, this book is always goes to the top of my reading list when a new issue arrives.