Story-Arc: Preludes to the Wedding.
Writer(s): Tim Seeley & Tom King.
Illustrator(s): Javier Fernandez, Minkyu Jung, Travis Moore, Bradley Walker & Sami Basri.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: September 11th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
While Batman and Catwoman might be just days from walking down the aisle and from going on one of the most special journeys they could ever live to enjoy, the Gotham underworld are far from ready to let this kind of happiness exist within their territory. After all, who would have actually thought that a wedding between these two could ever happen in peace? With a whole array of villains ready to jump on any opportunity to ruin a good moment, it was only a matter of time before things got out of hand and evil plots were unleashed to wreak havoc. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no one in Gotham to intervene and act as guardian angels for the Caped Crusader.
This collection features five one-shot stories all written by Tim Seeley with the help of various different artists. They each feature a battle between two characters and has the integrity of the upcoming wedding as the main connecting element. The first story puts Damian Wayne up against his grand-father Ra’s Al Ghul as he attempts to recruit his grandchild into his family business, while sowing the seed of doubt in Damian’s future within the soon-to-be new family. The second story features Nightwing as he is tossed into an unexpected battle against Hush who continues to suffer an identity crisis and brings Nightwing to live through the same existential questions. The third story has Batgirl going up against the Riddler as he makes her go through several riddles that has a bunch of innocent people’s lives at stake. The fourth story puts Red Hood on a mission to stop Anarky from achieving the chaos he wishes to bring forth right before the wedding. The final story is an interesting twist that has Harley Quinn going up against the Joker in order to stop him from ruining her friend’s wedding.
While Tom King isn’t the writer behind these stories, one of his stories is still inserted at the beginning of the collection and is undoubtedly the best story in the bunch. This story called “Your Big Day” was featured in the highly praised DC Nation #0 and has Tom King, with his trusted artist-friend Clay Mann, draw up a frightening and ridiculously beautiful moment between Joker and a clueless resident of Gotham. By bringing into play a Joker who is simultaneously composed and out of his mind, this creative team successfully showcase Joker’s unpredictable and volatile nature in a brilliant fashion. The story essentially comes down to the Joker waiting for an invitation for Batman and Catwoman’s wedding, while psychologically torturing this innocent resident. I can assure you that this story will send chills down your spine. It’s just that good.
The rest of the one-shots were minimally entertaining and had decent art, but they never truly went in any creative direction. Clearly, the goal of this collection was to hype up the impending wedding in the main Batman series (and get a couple of extra bucks out of fans). Often characters were also going on and on, almost as if they were on a soliloquy. The lengthy dialogues for some characters made it hard to find them authentic, especially when you’re drawing upon an event and characters built up by Tom King, who never made his characters say more than 10 words per panel. These inconsistencies made it hard to truly find yourself invested in the stories. The only way to enjoy these were to look at this collection as that magazine you pick up as you wait for the number on your ticket to pop up before it’s your turn to the main event.
Batman: Preludes to the Wedding is still a fun and quick read, but is far from being a quintessential volume in the bigger scheme of things. There’s nothing truly consequential in this volume, but at least there’s the little Tom King story that keeps this volume standing on two feet.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!