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Batman #26
DC Comics

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Clay Mann
Colors by: Clay Mann

For so many years they’ve fought together for justice. Sometimes, they’ve even fought each other. Now, from the creators who broke your heart in “The Ballad of Kite Man” comes a look at how the flaws of each frightens the other and how the hope in each inspires the other. 

(SPOILERS)

After a grueling battle between Catwoman and Talia al Ghul, Batman returns this week focusing on less of the action and more of the relationships. Superman and Batman’s that is, as the next story will focus on the close friendship(?) the two have. I mean, it’s titled “Superfriends” for a reason.

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The whole issue is about the most important and dangerous thing Batman has ever faced; actually acknowledging he has a friend in Superman. Although mostly from his view, we get a lot of the Superman side of the situation, as both are wondering if they should call each other to talk about Bruce’s engagement.  Meanwhile Selina and Lois talks to their respective partners, trying to convince them of calling on another. Tom King is set to explore their relationship on a deeper level than in recent memory, and I think he’s done a darn good job with this issue.

The best thing he does here is encapsulate how the two superheroes see each other, and it’s very fascinating yet personal and earnest. This two-part event promises something will happen that’ll change their relationship forever, I have a feeling it may be in a good way. The two see each other has better than themselves, telling their partners how they aren’t actually friends due to how Batman views Superman while the man of steel was simply taken aback by Bruce not calling him first. Them talking about themselves that way actually cements the fact they’re friends, because look up to each other as superheros.

Even though their relationship right now isn’t in the best spot, you can tell they’ll surely but slowly get to an agreement of sorts. They have to fight and help each other by the end of this issue, but before that my favorite panel this week comes form when the two heroes end up at the same place after tracking some super villains.

rco022.jpgThe best compliment I can give this story so far is that it feels real. Even though they’re superheros teaming up to fight super villains, Tom King has found a great way to humanize not only Batman but also Catwoman. She really feels like his true love here, and their chemistry leaps of the pages. Superman is also written very well, displaying his Superman-isms while still seeming like a real person and friend.

The art is by Clay Mann this week and I really loved it. The action, even in the intimate moments, have rarely looked better in this series and that’s pretty high praise. The colors and penciling is fantastic, although it’s not as consistent as I think it could’ve been. Once again I think it’s just a problem when it comes to have a comic come out twice a month, it means less time for the development for each issue. So with that format there will almost always be some inconsistency, but I’m surprised how good it’s been thus far.

In Conclusion:

This is another fantastic issue in King’s run of Batman as I really believe he has found his groove. The balance between comedic, dramatic, and warm moments is once again shown. The diversion from the previous storyline is a bit weird, it sometimes feels likes a filler issue even though it’s great. The art this week is simply amazing, despite a few parts that were noticeably inconsistent from the rest. I can’t wait to see what King has up his sleeve next, and what “Superfriends” will mean for Batman’s and Sueprman’s relationship.

Rating: 9/10 Bloody Fantastic

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