Batman #39 Review

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Posted January 17, 2018 by Chad Waller in Comic Books

Written By: Tom King

Art By: Joelle Jones & Jordie Bellaire

Published By: DC Comics

Tom King’s Batman run has been in a transition, going as far back as “The War of Jokes and Riddles.” First Batman is dour, telling his fiancé-to-be a story, then he’s less dour because he now has a fiancé who won’t let him be dour. Also the fiancé is awesome. Now, as much as I’m content with Batman going on double dates with Superman—best issue of this run so far—I know most people won’t be. They want action, and not just action action but Batman action!

So now we transition into Batman action, but with the caveat that Cat Woman is still around and awesome.

The plot is pretty simple: In the long ago, Batman and Wonder Woman met a magic dude stuck in a jam, and they promised to fill in for a day so he can live a normal life. Queue the swap; queue problems.

Issue #39 is largely prep work and explanation, but it’s fun prep work and fun explanation. What would normally be Batman grumping his way into a suit of armor to fight monsters is now a cute moment where we can all sit back and go, “Batman sure looks silly in a suit of armor.”

Hell, Wonder Woman even joins in on the fun!

Maybe it’s odd that I’ve only felt Tom King has struck Batman gold by making fun of the character, but he’s just so much more fun when the people are around him are having fun. Fancy that, huh? Make no mistake, this isn’t Marvel-level quips that ruin tension or dramatics. Tom King writes these characters like they’re real people conversing like real people. It just so happens that Cat Woman has some snark to her that’s adorable.

It’s also nice to see Wonder Woman written well again. I miss you Greg Rucka and Shea Fontana! Please come back!

For those in want of action, there’s a goodly amount to be had. It’s the badass kind too, the stuff promised by Dark Knights the Forge but without the bad writing. The monsters look wicked, and even though Batman wearing armor is silly, him swinging a sword into a hydra is not. It’s just cool. There are a lot of amazing little and big scenes here, either fighting or moments between fighting, and everything just feels right.

Tom King is capable of having his silly and his gravity.

My only complaint is that some plotwork is rushed along by the end, because while I get the framework of it, I don’t feel like the story itself earned its cliffhanger. That won’t make any sense since I’m avoiding spoilers, but feel free to nod in approval after you’ve read the book.

Batman #39 is a strong issue. It’s got a rad premise, some rad artwork, and some rad character moments. It balances the quirky fun of the last few issues with the somber gravity of those earlier on in the run, and it does so well. Also Cat Woman is the best.


About the Author

Chad Waller

Chad Waller is the cofounder of Dual Wield Software, a two-man video game company that just published The Land of Glass on Steam. You should check it out! You can follow him on Twitter @DualWieldSoft and find his company page on Facebook with a quick search.