Batman #33 by Tom King, Joelle Jones and Jordie Bellaire marks the first issue in a new arc after the game-changing proposal, or rather it’s answer, from the last issue.
Batman and Catwoman are engaged. For some reason, this engagement has led them to a desert country that is so marred by war and criminality, even the Justice League have declared it off-limits. Yet, for some reason, there they are.
Meanwhile, Alfred takes it upon himself to notify Bruce’s boys, his adoptive sons and his son by birth, about their father and mentor’s decisions, including the engagement to, admittedly, a criminal.
And you know what, it’s the most delightfully bright, breezy and fun issue there’s been in Batman for some time. The humour throughout is on point, without taking anything away from the important thematic characterisation of Batman or his world.
What’s more, King shows a comfort in generating banter between the three Robins, former and current, and the Signal that honestly is refreshing and genuinely entertaining. It creates an air of a brotherhood, of young men who love and care about each other, no matter how much they won’t say it in as many words.
In short, the Bat Family as we see them here are actually shown to be that…a family.
Banter, playing with the dog, and reacting to the news in a genuine range of emotion that feels both natural and fitting, it creates an issue that works as a delightful palate-cleanser after The War of Jokes and Riddles.
It cannot go without saying that a lot of the strength of this comes from Joelle Jones and Jordie Bellaire’s fantastic work on the art. Jones’ lines create a distinct differentiation between each of the boys, Nightwing, Red Hood, Robin and Signal that frankly is stunning. Sometimes the differences are small, like between Dick and Jason, but enough ti immediately tell them apart, and sometimes it’s including subtle differences that are actually hugely important and yet often overlooked for the character, such as Damian being shown to look like a younger Bruce.
Jones has an excellent range of emotions of show that are clear and look natural and realistic, and creates the best ‘acted’ comic visually I have seen in some time. Bellaire’s colours, especially between scenes from the cooler Wayne Manor to the desert sands of Khadym, are strong and vibrant, and help add to the important clarity in the pages. Combined with Jones’ linework, it creates some genuinely gorgeous artwork.
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