Writer: Tom King
Artist: Amanda Conner, Dan Panosian, John Timms, and Mikel Janin
Colorist: Paul Mounts, John Timms, and Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
This is one of the final issues of the Knightmares arc. Each one is essentially a one-shot with only very loose threads connecting them. It is clear that each issue is a look into Batman’s thoughts, feelings, and fears. There have been other issues that have looked at the failed wedding of Batman and Catwoman, and this one highlights that topic on a different angle.
This comic revolves around the Bachelor and Bachelorette parties of Batman and Catwoman. Lois Lane and Catwoman are having fun at the fortress of solitude, while Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are enjoying soup, and chess together. This comic is mostly playing with comedy, which is a unique choice for such a dark arc. It is not a spoiler to suggest that none of the previous issues actually happened outside Batman’s mind. So watching Selina and Lois have fun at their party is bittersweet knowing the real ending does not lead to a happily ever after. Furthermore, this story goes into why the wedding never would have worked in the first place, at least according to Batman’s own fears. This is an issue that is completely detached from anything “really” happening, but essential for understanding motivations of earlier issues.
Batman issue #50 was controversial, to say the least. Many people were looking forward to the culmination of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship to lead to a wedding, and that was taken from many readers. Tom King did an excellent job of getting most people on board with the relationship, building it up perfectly. Personally, I think Catwoman leaving Batman at the altar was the only thing that made sense narratively. Since then King has re-examined his choice on multiple levels, often in the Knightmares arc, and really hammered home the reasons for the outcome of the wedding issue. The interesting part being it was Bruce Wayne who seemed ready to be married and Selina Kyle who ran off, but in this issue, the reverse is shown. Selina was able to see how marriage may kill “Batman.” While this feeling may not be valid, this issue shows that it was a fear that Bruce had as well. King also shows exactly why Lois and Clark work so well, and why Bruce Wayne is a perpetual bachelor. All of Superman and Batman’s exchanges here perfectly outlines what makes each character really tick.
The art here is sublime, but again it suffers the problem of too many cooks can spoil the broth. Everyone here is talented by this issue clearly works best with Amanda Conner on art duties. Anytime the art switches it is a thematic shift that isn’t really welcome. Conner’s art has the energy that works perfectly with the comedic tone of the book, and anytime we drift from that something is lost. I could pull out any page and they all look fantastic individually, but as a whole, they don’t always work together. I was really looking forward to Conner’s work on every page of this book, and it was a severe let down to not see that. Her pages clearly shine overtop everyone else’s. No one else can capture the emotional weight of this comic quite as she could. Each Knightmare issue so far has been one single artist showing off what they can do with Tom King’s varied scripts and I wish we got that again here.