Review: BATMAN/CATWOMAN #7
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Liam Sharp
Colours: Liam Sharp
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman/Catwoman #7: When Batman begins to doubt Catwoman’s allegiance, it leads to trouble on the streets of Gotham. Who does Selina support: Joker, Phantasm, or the Dark Knight? Well, he’ll soon find out that some questions are better left unasked. If he’s going to test her loyalty, she’s going to test his mettle. Thus, Bruce Wayne finds himself locked in a bank vault with the Gotham PD knocking on the door!
Last issue, we saw Selina confess to her daughter Helena that she had killed the Joker. This left readers wondering how Helena would react. Would she look the other way and let her mother get away with it? Would she attempt to bring Selina in? Now, in Batman/Catwoman #7, we learn that Helena passed off the decision to Dick Grayson, now Commissioner of Gotham City.
Despite last issue’s touching moment between Dick and Selina, Dick does his duty and comes to arrest her. Warily, Dick asks her, “How badly is this going to go, Selina?”. But surprisingly, Selina surrenders peacefully. At first, it seems that Selina is willing to accept the legal consequences for her crime. However, the issue ends with Selina about to escape police custody with a hidden lockpick. I suspect that she didn’t resist arrest to avoid having to hurt Dick or Helena, opting to escape later instead.
In the present day storyline, Selina has betrayed Bruce by leaving in an inescapable trap – well inescapable for anyone but Batman. Locked naked and handcuffed in a bank vault with a hostile GCPD squad waiting outside. This trap was intended to keep Bruce busy while Phantasm exacts her revenge on the Joker.
And in the storyline set in the past, we see Batman and Commissioner Gordon at a particularly gruesome murder scene. In keeping with the title’s Christmas theme, Joker has stuffed several bodies in Santa suits into a chimney. Jim Gordon gives his opinion of the Joker: “Batman, this… thing… he’s the Goddamn devil. Sent by the Lord to punish us for our sins. These are people… I’m supposed to protect this city. My city… We have to stop this. Whatever it takes. It has to end. There has to be a way out of this madness”.
This is an important question at the core of King’s story. Batman has dealt with the Joker over his entire career as Batman, but never managed to put a stop to the Joker. His rule against killing is a limit that prevents Batman from permanently ending the Joker’s evil. But Selina finally does so by violating Bruce’s most important rule. And Helena is caught between her parents. She’s caught up in the ideals of her father, but will she come to accept that maybe her mother’s actions were justified?
Liam Sharp has taken over the art duties in place of Clay Mann for this issue as well as the next two. While the difference in style is noticeable, it isn’t jarring. Both are talented artists, but Sharp manages to keep the same tone set by Mann. I wouldn’t really consider this a downgrade or an upgrade.
I also wonder what current status is regarding the Batman/Catwoman Special. It originally was supposed to come out before this issue, but the unfortunate and untimely death of artist John Paul Leon caused DC to delay it. Hopefully it will appear in some form before too long.
Some might be dismayed by the change of artists – or pleased if they prefer Sharp’s artwork. But I am quite happy with either of these talented artists. And if the change allows the title to come out in a more timely fashion, then so much the better.
Batman/Catwoman #7 marks the beginning of the second half of Tom King’s series. Bruce and Selina’s romance is a rather odd one, but King’s story is exploring it in a fascinating way. King has written some absolutely amazing Batman stories and this series is shaping up to be another classic.