What am I talking about this time: BATMAN #47
Written by: Sandu Florea, Tom King
Art by: Tony S. Daniel
Cover by: Tony S. Daniel
Variant cover by: Olivier Coipel
Overall Review: 4 out of 5 Skeets… i think
Is it worth $2.99? Yes. Is it worth the hours of therapy you’ll need afterwards, I don’t know.
Spoiler Free Review: Never in my life have I wanted to skip a spoiler-free section so much before. Look, this issue is CRAZY divisive. Good story, GREAT art. And yet… I finished my second read through of it and I don‘t know where I stand on it. It’s a solid story with great art. Splash page hits you in the gut, panels are clean and still emotional. It drew me in from beginning to end and everything that happened made sense… or at least can mostly be justified. But did it LIKE it?!!? I don’t know. Did it affect me? YES!!!! In a good way? UMMMMM… I DON’T KNOW. Did it make me think about Batman in a deeper way- HELL YES. Is that a good thing… YES.
Quick recap to get to the big stuff: As a wedding present . Booster Gold and skeets have traveled back in time to save Batman’s parents… why? Because he wants our timeline’s Batman to see how everything that has happened to him is for the better, even his parents getting murdered. Kind of like a messed up version of It’s a Wonderful Life for batman. This goes sideways very quickly as Batman doesn’t want to return to his original timeline and does everything he can to protect his parents, including beating up and incarcerating Booster Gold, killing/reviving Skeets, and eventually forcing them both back through time when his parents get murdered anyway. This all culminates in one of the most fucked-up Batman panels of all time when Booster Gold eventually sets the time-line right as the alternate-reality Bruce Wayne watches his parents get murdered by joe Chill in Crime Alley, setting our timeline right. Alternate-reality Bruce Wayne than puts a gun to his head and commits suicide in front of Booster Gold, blowing blood and brain matter all over Booster’s yellow glasses.
REPEAT… BATMAN COMMITS SUICIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One more time….
BATMAN COMMITS SUICIDE!!!!!!!
We cut back to the present in our timeline as the comic ends with Booster Gold telling Catwoman and Batman the story and obsessively cleaning an invisible spot off his glasses, because he’s kind of crazy now. Oh yeah, in the alternate time-line Catwoman was a serial killer who could only meow and killed Batman’s parents when they were adults or something no one cares about that or this scene because on page 21, Bruce Wayne/Batman puts a gun to his head and blows his brains out.
Ok, let’s get into this…
Is this something Batman Would do?
Well, as Tom King set up in Batman #12, accurately entitled, “I am Suicide” Batman reveals in a letter to Catwoman that at the age of 10, after his parents died, he cut his wrists with his dad’s razor. The attempt failed, obviously, and that’s when he realized his life wasn’t his own and made his famous oath. So, yeah, in a timeline where that never happened, an older Bruce Wayne, reliving the event, used what was handy, the gun he had in his hand, and committed the same act.
Gatta be honest here people… I don’t know. I know it’s my job to put into words what I feel about this issue, but there is something in my gut, an emotion I cannot describe. Somewhere between disgust, horror, empathy, and respect. Maybe I’m in shock?! If that can be received from a comic? Maybe I’ll try to update this after it wears off… if it wears off.