The Bad Thing That Bruce Wayne Did – And Keeps Doing – In Batman #32

The War Of Jokes And Riddles, told by Tom King and Mikel Janin in the Batman ongoing title has been a long tease. A shaggy bat story. As Bruce Wayne asked for Selina Kyle’s hand in marriage, this was the tale he had to tell about when he gone done wrong, to see if she’ll still have him. The answer was revealed by DC Comics earlier this week, but what of the crime?

Well, Batman #32 sets out its stall, continuing the story that had seen Batman, The Joker and Riddler, alone in a high building of Gotham and having to deal with each other in a very physical way. Now remember, this is the¬†same Batman who managed to take out Deathstroke and Deadshot a few issues earlier in similar circumstances. And who manages to take the fistfight¬†between the three of them…

…right back to the sixties TV show, as the old sound effects make a return.

… undercutting the events and reminding readers of the Batlegacy. At this point, could his greatest crime have been to perform the Batusi?

No, it seems not. It was all about Batman’s decision to pick up the knife…

…and go for a deathblow. Only to be prevented…

…by the Joker. That’s it. The Batman who doesn’t kill, tried to kill. And that is the crime he seeks penance from Catwoman over. Who answers him calmly and clearly, leading to the scene that USA Today sent around the world. And doesn’t sit him down and say “seriously? I’ve done that lots of times, remember? Hell I’ve tried to kill you. Also, while we’re at it, those Batarangs you throw around can be really sharp, is there that much of a difference? And hey, has the Joker ever referred to having such a debilitating wound in his hand from you before? How come? While we’re at it, how come Kiteman didn’t get a huge reputation boost in Gotham after taking us all out? Oh, by the way, yes.We’re not getting any younger.”

Meanwhile the Metal books are full of nightmare Batmen Dark Knights that do kill…

…and a Batman who killed his Joker only to be infected to be the next one (unless there are other possibilities)

And Batman: White Knight #1 pout today by Sean Gordon Murphy with a Batman who tried to do that to the Joker as well.

Got shamed for it…

And banged up for his trouble. To receive the ultimate humiliation…

Yet at no point became a Nazi! See, Marvel, that’s how it’s done…

Batman #32 and Batman: White Knight are both published today by DC Comics.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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