Batman #36 from DC Comics by Tom King, Clay Mann, Seth Mann, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles starts a new arc — one that actually makes for a fun jumping-on point for new readers, too.
Exploring how Batman and Superman view their friendship, urged on with the news of Batman's engagement to Catwoman, the issue explores how both men hold a friendship that both means a lot to them and yet still isolates each from the other. It's a friendship built on mutual respect for each other so great that it blinds them to just how close that friendship is.
It also makes for a fun exploration of each characters relationship with their significant others, Catwoman and Lois Lane, showing that these women in their lives are just as formidable as the heroes themselves, through the simple use of better, more mature emotional understanding. Lois not putting up with Superman's stubborn insistence on how to proceed and Catwoman pointing out her own intelligence and skills present the women in the World's Finest relationship are just as strong as their partners — just sometimes in different ways.
It ultimately all leads to something I never thought I'd see in a Batman book: a hilarious and sweet meet-cute moment as the two couples collide.
King is excelling in his take on Batman and his world, mainly for his careful and methodical exploration of the emotional landscape of the Dark Knight. His Batman isn't a man of monotonous emotional greys, but rather just as detailed, colourful, and complex an emotional tableau as any character. That means it goes beyond vengeance and a thirst for justice.
Similarly, his reasons for how a being as great as Superman could consider a best friend in a lowly man are both striking and humanising of the big blue boy scout, too.
Mann, Mann, and Bellaire's work on the art is stunning. There's something oddly mature and adult about the Manns' lines and inks. They suit this issue, taking a mature and reasonable look at the emotions of two grown men acting immaturely stubborn surrounding the nature of their friendship. Bellaire's colours add life and vibrancy to the scenes, even when they were at their most mundane, and it's never more important than in the colours of the characters, where it really adds life to them.
DC's Batman title continues to be one of the most fantastic and powerful comics on the shelves today, with this issue starting a fun exploration into Batman's connection to the other elements of the DC Universe that connect to his life. I cannot recommend it enough.
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