Batman 44 came out today. What to say.
First, what it's about? It's about 22 pages. Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the fish and don't forget to tip your wait staff.
It's about the wedding becoming real. It's 2 a.m. and Bruce is asleep in bed and Selina is restless. She leaves, puts on her catsuit and we see her swim through an old-fashioned sewer line, place a limpet mine and at a certain point on the sewer line roof. She activates the bomb and we cut to a store room and see the floor collapse.
She crawls up out of the hole and takes off her sewage-soaked costume. It turns out the store room is for wedding dresses.
We then cut to flashbacks of her and Bruce's courtship dating back to 1940. Actual scenes from golden and silver age Batman/Catwoman stories are redrawn by Michael Jann. The contemporary part of the story is drawn by Joelle Jones.
We see Selina try on a bunch of wedding dresses, not liking what she sees. Finally sees one from the Collection of "JJ" with a price tag of $28,000. She tries it on. It is black with white trim or perhaps white lace surrounding a black "body." I don't know, fashion language is not my thing and I invite the fine readers of this review to chime and give a more accurate description. (I am serious. Nothing wrong with sharing expertise).
Selina steals the dress, sneaks back into bed with Bruce. Alfred saw her, and she puts her finger to her lips as if to say keep this under your hat, it will be our secret. Alfred smiles.
What I liked. The art. I know that having Batman published twice a month is a strain on the artists, so having a story split between two artists, with one doing the flashbacks and one doing the contemporary stuff is a clever work-around for that problem. This solution is the comic equivalent of flashbacks in films having a sepia tone. Like I said, nice.
On top of that, I like both artists' work in the story. Jann's work filtering the art of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s into one whole look or style works. CBR has done the work of finding the original pages that show the original art and you can compare the actual Selina from Batman 1 to Jann's Selina in Batman 1. A nice Easter Egg hunt, appropriate for this season.
And Jones' art is modern. Selina is drawn as stylish and sexy without being Jim Balant/Bay Watch bloated and trashy. My only complaint is that her style is a little to exaggerated, just a little. The lines aren't has sharp as I like them. But now we're getting into preferences and I can recognize that her work is good and does right by the characters.
This issue does show that this relationship has a storied and long history. It shows that this is not some writer's fiat, like Carly trying to be made the new love of Peter Parker's life, and that Selina and Bruce always end up at the same place, no matter how hard the comics code and status quo protectors try to keep them apart.
I go by the theory that at some point you're either in or out. And no matter how hard people try, Bruce and Selina end up at the same place. It's like saying Lois and Clark can't get married because things must always be as they were in 1950.
What I didn't like. The fact that a wedding dress can actually cost $28,000. That is no exaggeration. Big Wedding has the wedding-industrial complex humming to an expensive tune. (True fact, if you want to save money on your wedding venue, say you need it for a family reunion. They actually charge more for weddings on the assumption that people will pay more).
Second, Selina stole the dress. She doesn't have to. This says something about her. Compulsive thieving could cause trouble later on in the marriage. This is actually good laying foundation for future drama, but I feel these sorts of things should be worked out before the "I dos" but that's me.
Third, Selina used a bomb to break into a store room. That causes a lot of debris to go flying out. That's got to damage the dresses. And swimming through a sewer. Just gross. Not the cat-like moves I associate with Catwoman. It's a clumsy, loud break-in is what I am saying. The story could have operated the same way is Selina, jimmied the alarm and slipped in through an air grate. Bombs weren't needed.
Overall, a nice issue. A quick read because there wasn't a lot of dialogue. In fact, the entire contemporary scenes were silent. We only see time stamps. All the dialogue is the actual dialogue from the issues the flashbacks were taken from.
I do worry that Selina has some stealing compulsions. Also, Bruce Wayne's bride gets married in a $28,000 stolen dress. No way that doesn't make the papers and raise some eyebrows.
Or I could be wrong.