Story-Arc: The Wedding.
Writer(s): Tom King.
Illustrator(s): Tony S. Daniel & Mikel Janín.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Paperback (Read in Single Issues).
Release Date: October 30th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously on DC Universe Rebirth’s Batman:
Batman (Vol. 1) I Am Gotham by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 1.5.) Night of the Monster Men by Steve Orlando
Batman (Vol. 2) I Am Suicide by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 3) I Am Bane by Tom King
Batman/The Flash (Vol. 3.5) The Button by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 4) The War of Jokes and Riddles by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 5) Rules of Engagement by Tom King
Batman (Vol. 6) Bride or Burglar by Tom King
The moment has come. Marking the halfway mark in Tom King’s legacy as a Batman writer, he brings on some of the most riskiest moves ever pulled by a writer, but also reveals the big (or maybe not so big) wedding between Batman and Catwoman. While this run has been bumpy, it has always been a progressive improvement with which volume. His style is easy to identify, especially with his way of approaching character development, but also his needs in terms of artwork. In fact, it’s a bit hard to mention Tom King without thinking of his iconic 9 panel grids. But his writing style is also heavy on repetition, but it’s how he plays with this method that makes it stand out the most. Although it might not work all the time, his now better grasp of the DC universe and its characters has made the style far more powerful over time.
Batman: The Wedding is the 7th volume in this canon Batman series and collects issues #45-50. The wedding in itself is the last oversized issue in the volume and is particular in its structure, but also in the number of artists involved in that special project. Before the grand event, there are two story arcs featured within this volume, and they are both innovative in their own way, but also extremely risky by the nature of the ideas themselves. The first story is a three-part arc called “The Gift” and brings into play a rarely seen hero known as Booster Gold. The second story is a two-part arc called “The Best Man” and follows right where DC Nation #0’s Joker one-short story “Your Big Day” left off and puts Joker first up against Batman and then against Catwoman. And of course, the volume ends with a cliffhanger presented in the special #50 issue called “The Wedding”.
This volume is definitely not one that will garner the praise of every reader and fan. The ideas explored by Tom King have always been unconventional, and often breaks away from everything that is easy to absorb and appreciate. “The Gift”, for example, is one of those ideas, and at first, I was completely void of words to explain what I had just read. The story is essentially an alternative reality in which Booster Gold is featured as the main character. The world in which we are dropped in is almost impossible to believe in as chaos and lunacy reigns in it. If you thought Gotham was already bad, you haven’t seen this world. But once you reach the ending of this arc, the very last panel, you’ll understand how insanely powerful Tom King’s idea was. It might be extravagant, but this gift by Booster Gold for Bruce Wayne was still very introspective of Batman’s character.
And then we find ourselves in front of “The Best Man”. With the excellent arc that Tom King gave us in volume 5, “The War of Jokes and Riddles”, and the original take on Joker, it was no surprise that the villain shines again right before the big event. There are some very awkward moments that were almost impossible to comprehend as a fan of Batman, especially in regards to Batman’s behaviour, but the more you think about, the more you find yourself convinced that the rational behind it all lies in Batman’s perspective of Joker. Batman doesn’t treat the Joker like any normal human being. He acknowledges his insanity and tackles (literally) the target with peculiar strategies, like playing along with Joker’s vision of the world. However, the highlight of this arc is in the second part of the arc where Catwoman confronts the Joker. This is where Tom King brings into play the baggage that both these characters have accumulated over the years, but have rarely ever been explored by any writer. The dialogue between the two is amazing, and at times, difficult to accept, but still very plausible.
The last oversized issue is the dreaded “The Wedding”. The accumulation of almost 50 issues that has led to this big moment between the two iconic characters. The story is interspersed with full page portraits of Catwoman, Batman or the both of them with a powerful and simple monologue on the depth of each others eyes and how they are mirrors to the soul of each of these characters. If anything, this is the closest I’ve ever been to reading romance, and it was wonderfully written and conveyed. Each page is however done by different artists, some incredibly more impressive than others, but each with their own style. The last pages however end on a cliffhanger that notably highlights an epiphany-like moment for Selena Kyle and Bruce Wayne, and reminds us that fans can look forward to great things in the series.
Batman: The Wedding is definitely the best volume so far in the series, passing The War of Jokes and Riddles by an inch. The risks taken by Tom King in this story arc were a lot more impressive in my books, and actually felt logical and original to me. There are however things that didn’t work as well, even in the artwork department (I’m thinking about some of the symmetry moves pulled off in the final issue), but everything else makes this volume very special, it simply makes this a wedding to remember.