Following his marriage proposal to Catwoman, Batman leaves Gotham City on a quest of renewal and redemption. As he travels and fights, he encounters members of his familyóeach disturbed by Batmanís journey, each ready to stand in his way, each ready to push back against Batmanís stubborn determination to evolve into something better than a superhero.
Though you've probably already heard how Selina Kyle answered Bruce Wayne's marriage proposal at the end of the absolutely blockbuster BATMAN #32, I'm not going to spoil it here for those of you who are reading this in collected editions. Regardless of how she responded, whatever happened next was never going to be easy.
As issue #33 begins, Bat and Cat ride across a barren desert on horseback, fresh from her answer and his confession to her of his shocking action that ended the War of Jokes and Riddles. But where are they going?
If she said "Yes," is it because their nuptials are subject to the resolution of a certain order of business?
If she said "No," is he taking her through hell to show her something that might change her mind? Let's just say that the lovebirds' journey isn't going to make the Justice League happy.
Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Duke Thomas, and Damian hold down the fort at Wayne Manor, wondering what their mentor and father has gotten himself into this time (and considering how it might affect his family back home). Alfred doesn't tell them everything, but he certainly tells them most of it... including the involvement of Ms. Kyle. Their reactions range from humor to horror and even heartbreak for one of them, as writer Tom King balances it all like the master we've been watching him become during his wonderful run.
The Bat/Cat pages pack an almost fantastical blend of Wild West romanticism and desolate danger, realized with staggering beauty by artist and inker JoŽlle Jones and colorist Jordie Bellaire (who's already on her way to a lifetime achievement award as far as I'm concerned). Jones's Selina is stunning and deadly, and her Batman depiction begs for its own action figure. From a Wayne Manor interior that feels like home to the fairy-tale feel of the Bat/Cat adventure, Jones and Bellaire continue to cement BATMAN as one of the best-looking books on the market. Faces convey incredible depth and expression.
I'm ashamed that I didn't figure out where they were going until the final page, and I found myself clapping at how awesome it was. The next issue will be more than a little interesting, as King and company continue to craft original and engaging Batman stories brimming with heroics, emotion, romance, and satisfying surprises galore. - John Bierly
John Bierly still can't believe he gets to write for BOF.
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