Writer: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Love is in the air as Batman #15 wraps up the beautiful two-part Rooftops story or as I like to call it Gotham Date Night. Our tale began last issue as Batman and Catwoman have one last night together before Catwoman begins a life sentence at Blackgate prison for the still unanswered (until the end of this issue) death of 237 men. Batman #14 was a wonderful issue and this issue exceeds it, which was surprising. Tom King is firing on all cylinders as he has really found his voice for Batman. I know many people left the title when Snyder and Capullo left the book or during the I am Gotham arc but if you stayed with it you’re being treated to a very talented writer weaving an excellent Batman tale.
Batman #15 opens on the Rooftops of Gotham with Batman and Catwoman sans costumes intertwined after consummating their very complicated relationship. We find the two bickering over their first meeting, which is absolutely delightful. Batman is convinced they first met on a ship, where Catwoman was disguised as an old woman and stealing diamonds. Catwoman on the other hand is adamant they met on the streets when Batman in disguise attempted to rescue Catwoman’s friend Holly from a violent client. The meta-textual context was brilliant as they are actually arguing whether or not they are the pre or post Crisis versions of themselves. Batman is referencing the Golden Age Batman #1 appearance while Catwoman’s memory is of Batman #404 AKA Frank Miller’s Batman Year One, which is the post-Crisis origin of Batman and Catwoman first meeting. This two-page spread is brilliantly rendered by Gerads who uses his own style for the modern panels but channels Bill Finger and David Mazzucchelli for the flashbacks and they are a perfect homage to the past. It’s also a wink and a nod at continuity being fluid with DC Rebirth and the origin of choice is up to the reader.
I think my favorite aspect of Tom King’s run on Batman is that Batman is less somber and has more of a ‘70s O’Neil & Adams heroic feel to him rather then the horror inspired Snyder run, which was a masterpiece but also very dreary. With King there is a feeling of hope and Batman is striving to find the light rather then dwelling in eternal dark. This is on display as the remainder of the issue as Batman pieces together clues from Catwoman’s past as he works to discover what really happened to the 237 men she is convicted of killing. There is the perfect combination of detective work and highflying action plus we get to see Jim Gordon as he really is, an out of shape chain smoking burned out Commissioner of Police, not a fit Batman replacement. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Superheavy, I just didn’t buy that aspect of it. But it’s comics and we can all suspend our disbelief for 22 pages if it’s a quality tale, which it most definitely was.
I’d be remiss not to draw attention to how stunning Batman #15 is. I believe from the bottom of my heart that Mitch Gerads was put on this earth to draw Batman. His art (which includes everything from pencils to colors) is incredible. He uses classic layout with his panels and uses rich colors to create a dark and moody atmosphere. His hints of light are perfect, especially the scene in Gordon’s apartment where Jim is lit by a table lamp while Batman somehow finds the one shadow available and cloaks himself within it. We need more Gerads on Batman. I don’t know what DC has in store for him next but I’m hoping it includes more Batman.
Verdict: If you love heroic action and a classic take on Batman then Buy! Tom King’s writing on Batman is stellar and his run is really taking off. Mitch Gerads art was a perfect fit for this arc and I cannot praise it enough. It’s been a long time coming but if you are a fan of the Dark Knight this is a great time with Batman, Detective Comics, and All Star Batman all being excellent comics month after month.