Ricky Church reviews Batman #24…
“Aftermath”! Gotham City is at peace…but a war is coming. Armed with the terrifying knowledge gained from the mysterious button, Batman prepares for the coming storm by making a proposition to one of his enemies—one that will change everything for the Dark Knight and his allies!
Now that ‘The Button’ crossover with The Flash has concluded, Tom King takes the Batman title back to Gotham and his main story with Batman in Batman #24. However, the consequences from ‘The Button’ are sticking with Batman, even though they’re never directly stated, as he contemplates what to do with his life now.
The ‘next step’ is the largest theme of Batman #24 as her and Gotham Girl discuss what to do now that the threats to Gotham Girl’s safety have been put to rest. It’s interesting to see two vastly different perspectives play out, especially given how Gotham Girl’s career as a superhero began. The way she actively wants to help people and looks to Batman for validation and advice is in stark contrast to the way Batman describes his decision to don the cape and cowl.
Conversely, Batman’s own viewpoint stands in contrast to Gotham Girl’s. Whereas she’s rather optimistic about the future, he’s downright bleak and admits he’s afraid of having a normal life. What’s startling about this admission is his comparison to how he’s unafraid of life as Batman, stating “What I’ve seen. Gotham. Him. If all that doesn’t scare me… then I’m insane.” It’s quite a powerful moment, especially since the question of Batman’s actual mental sanity (along with his comparison to The Joker) has been such a prevalent issue in several stories.
That’s when King introduces his status quo change. It was a neat touch throughout the book to keep flashing forward to Batman presumably chasing Catwoman, only for it to actually be a late night chat. This issue builds off the events of Catwoman’s last appearance in Batman #15 pretty well, finally culminating in Bruce Wayne actually proposing to Catwoman. He’s really taken his late father’s message to heart in an attempt to move on and make something special with his life.
The Batman/Catwoman relationship is one of the most interesting ones in comics, with the two often trading between being allies, enemies or lovers. King has shown before, through ‘I Am Suicide’ and ‘Rooftops’, how good of a handle he has on Catwoman’s character and her dynamic with Batman. Seeing him at the helm of this status quo change is intriguing and means we’re in for something we probably won’t expect.
David Finch returns for art duties on the issue, though only illustrates the Batman/Catwoman portions of the book while Seth and Clay Mann illustrate the Batman/Gotham Girl portion. Their styles are different enough that readers will notice the slight change in art throughout the story, yet their also similar enough that it’s not very distracting or inconsistent. Rather, they compliment each other pretty well.
The conversation with Gotham Girl is arguably the best looking portion of the book, with some bright colours and interesting layouts as Gotham Girl slowly flies around Batman. Finch, though, draws a killer Catwoman, milking every image of her jumping off rooftops for everything they’re worth. Jordie Bellaire gets to mix with a lot of different colours as well and makes several of the images standout, the last page especially.
The themes raised in this issue as Batman grapples with his future are thought-provoking and King does a good job playing with those themes. He furthers the development of both Batman and Gotham Girl, paying off on the theme of family that’s been so significant since his first issue. The art from Finch and the Mann’s elevate the book, delivering some stellar imagery.
Only time will tell whether Batman and Catwoman do get married and how long it remains status quo, but for now Batman #24 is one of King’s best issues for his examination of Batman and his possible happiness.