Writer: Tom King
Artist: Lee Weeks
Colors: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letters: Clayton Cowles
What could be worse then being left at the altar? Jury Duty of course. Batman #51 picks up the tale of a heart broken Batman who is taking his anger out on the criminal and in this case super criminals of Gotham. Tom King’s tale revolves around three seemingly random dead women, who are declared murdered after Batman intervenes and then Batman’s capture of Mr. Freeze for said murders. The twist is that the trial of Mr. Freeze needs jurors and selected to that jury is none other than Bruce Wayne, Gotham’s most eligible billionaire.
I’ve read a lot of Batman comics in my life but this premise is truly original. Obviously the legal questions of Batman and his relationship with Gotham law enforcement is a Constitutional Habeas Corpus nightmare. Gone are the days of a deputized Batman who would take the stand in costume and testify against the criminals he apprehended. Now defense attorneys can use the Batman and his tactics as a legal scapegoat to get their clients off. But the true question of Batman #51 is what if Batman was wrong? What if he went to far in the apprehension of Mr. Freeze? What if he allowed his anger at being jilted cloud his judgment? Luckily twelve lucky jurors with no obvious bias will be fair in the judgment.
Batman #51 is per usual another excellent issue of Batman. Tom King continues his grand 100-issue epic. King has such a wonderful take on the Dark Knight and where he brilliantly lightened Batman over the course of the past year with the engagement to Catwoman he now seems to be on the path of breaking the Bat. Lee Weeks returns on art for this issue and even though he’s been in the industry for over twenty years he continues to impress and is finally getting the credit he is due. His work on last years Batman Annual #2 was breathtaking and he continues in the mold here in Batman #51. Amplifying Weeks artwork is the wonderful colors of Elizabeth Breitweiser whose uses of darks with colors really adds depth to the pages and to the overall greatness of this issue.
Verdict: Batman #51 is an intriguing take on the ramifications of not only Batman’s failed nuptials but also the judicial side of Batman’s actions in Gotham City. Throw in jury duty for Bruce Wayne with sequestration, Dick under the cowl, and a great cliffhanger Batman #51 is a must Buy.