Batman #44 Review: A Surprisingly Deep Look at How the Cat Caught the Bat
Batman #44 (2018) Cover
Batman and Catwoman have a complicated relationship. That has been true since they first met in Batman #1 (volume 1), way back in the Spring of 1940. For those of you who have not been following the recent issues of Batman, the Bat and the Cat finally decided to get married, and the past few issues have been delving into the lead-up to the big day. This issue, Batman #44 (volume 3), looks at how Selina goes about picking out her wedding dress. What seems like a simple storyline, masks a very deep and, for a Bat-Geek reader, a very satisfying look at how the Cat caught the Bat…
Yes, there are some spoilers from this point on, but…you were warned…
Batman #44 (2018) Catwoman Dress
Selina Kyle decides to go looking for a wedding dress. Being a burglar by nature, she decides to do her shopping after-hours, as it were, and, after finding an, ahem, “unique” way of gaining entry to the wedding dress shop, we see her trying on a variety of dresses. As she does so, we see her memory flashback to several iconic moments in the history of Batman and Catwoman, starting with the first time they met in the aforementioned Batman #1. This is the start of the cool part of this comic. The reader sees her memories of vital moments in their shared history, stretching from the original Golden Age stories (1940s), to the Silver Age (1950s and 1960s), to the modern age. We have a ring-side seat to their developing relationship, as well as a look at their costuming changes over the years.
The connecting theme in this issue is clothing and costumes, as some of the conversation in the flashbacks covers their costume changes, clearly a metaphor for Catwoman’s ultimate costume change, which centers on her picking out her wedding dress.
From a continuity standpoint, (continuity problems, to be transparent, are a particular pet peeve of this reviewer in comics), this issue is great, in that it honors the past, while making clear that all those old Batman stories, from the 1940s onward, count in the new reality of DC’s REBIRTH. One of the problems with DC’s New 52 continuity, (and before that, the universes created after DC’s other reboots, from Crisis to Flashpoint), was how the past was tossed aside in favor of the new. When DC decided to junk the New 52 and bring us REBIRTH, one of the DC editors famously said that, in effect, all the stories (from the past) mattered, and were “real.” Batman #44 proves that, using scenes from seven prior Batman-Catwoman tales from the past, and making sure they are in this, current continuity.
Tom King wrote a sparse, yet creative script for this issue, and Mikel Janin’s art illustrates the story well, capturing the styles and look of those past eras.
Publication History of the Main Batman Books (Detective Comics and Batman)
Detective Comics #27-Cover
Batman has been around since his first published adventure in 1939. That first appearance came in Detective Comics #27. Detective Comics has maintained publication almost continuously ever since. Batman got his own title in the Spring of 1940, with the publication of Batman #1, which also featured the first appearances of Catwoman and the Joker, both introduced in separate stories in that first issue.
As posted on Bleeding Cool by Mark Seifert, while Detective Comics was cover dated May, 1939, the actual date of publication (i.e. when retailers could actually put the comic on the shelf to be purchased, was March, 30, 1939).
“March 30, 1939 is the date of publication of Detective Comics #27 as listed by the Library of Congress Copyright Office’s Catalog of Copyright Entries for Periodicals for 1939. According to the statute in effect at that time, the Copyright Act of 1909, the date of publication as listed here is “held to be the earliest date when copies of the first authorized edition were placed on sale, sold, or publicly distributed."
To provide some historical context to when Batman first appeared, on March 30, 1939, Franklin Roosevelt was in his second term as President of the United States. World War Two in Europe had not yet begun (that came in September of the year), and America was still in the throes of the Great Depression. 1939 is considered the year of Hollywood’s greatest movies, and when Batman hit the stands, one of the most popular movies in theaters at that time was a Western called Stagecoach, starring a young fella named John Wayne. This is the movie that made him a big star. Still to come in 1939 were such hits as Gone with the Wind, the Wizard of Oz, and Of Mice and Men. Yes, that means that Batman is older than Dorothy, the Wicked Witch of the East, and the Flying Monkeys!
Anyway, back to the Bat-Man, as he was first known. While over the past 70-plus years, DC Comics has published literally dozens of ongoing and limited-run titles featuring Batman and his extended Bat-Family (Robin/Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwoman, etc.) and has had Batman appear as a major character in other non-Bat titles (Justice League, World’s Finest etc.), the two main titles featuring the Caped Crusader are the Detective Comics and Batman titles. This look at Batman’s publication history will focus on those two iconic comic book series.
Batman #1 Cover
As we mentioned above, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27. Batman would appear in this title as the main character from that point onwards. The first 26 issues of Detective Comics featured non-superhero stories, and are not part of Batman’s history.
On occasion, comics publishers (DC and Marvel are the two biggest) will reboot or relaunch a title, usually by ending a run of comics and starting a new run. For example, Detective Comics (and the whole line of DC books) was rebooted in 2011 and was renumbered with a new #1 issue. This means that the original run of the title is now referred to as volume 1, while the newly launched series with the new #1 issue is referred to as volume 2.
Ok, with that out of the way, Detective Comics has had two (or three, depending on how you look at it) separate volumes.
The first run of Detective Comics (with Batman) goes from:
Detective Comics #27 (1939) to #881 (2011)-Volume 1
This run of Detective also includes a Detective Comics #0 (part of the Zero Hour reboot by DC), a Detective Comics #1,000,000 (part of a look at a possible future in the 853rd Century), and twelve Detective Comics Annual issues, for a total of 883 regular issues, and the twelve annuals.
Then, in 2011, DC re-launched their entire comics line, with new #1 issues for every title, including the Bat-books. Thus, we end up with a second volume.
Detective Comics #1 (2011) to #52 (2016)-Volume 2
This run of Detective also includes a Detective Comics #0 and #23.1 through #23.4) and three Detective Comics Annual issues, for a total of 57 regular issues and three annuals. This was part of the New 52 relaunch that was an experiment to try to bring in new readers. DC ended the New 52 when they launched REBIRTH in 2016.
DC has a history of convoluted reboots and re-launches, which can be confusing for those keeping track of continuity and canon (Marvel is much worse in that regard lately), but with the blessed end of the New 52, and a new reboot called “REBIRTH.” With the ending of the New 52 experiment, DC re-launched some titles with new #1s, while the two flagship titles, Action Comics and Detective Comics, renewed their original numbering, including the issues published in the New 52 era. Thus, Detective picked up with issue #934, and will soon reach the long-sought after Detective Comics #1000.
Note: While DC considers the current run on the title as a continuation of Volume 1, some collectors and price-guide publications also refer to the current run as Volume 3.
So, what about the Batman title? Similar to the Detective Comics publication drama, the Batman books follow a similar pathway.
Batman #1 (1940) to #713 (2011)-Volume 1
This run of Batman also includes issues #0 (part of the Zero Hour reboot by DC), a Batman #1,000,000 (part of a look at a possible future in the 853rd Century), 1 Batman Special and 28 Batman Annual issues.
Batman #1 (2011) to #52 (2016)-Volume 2 (the New 52 run)
This run of Batman also includes issues #0 and 23.1 through 23.4) and 4 Batman Annuals.
Batman: Rebirth #1-Cover Batarang
Batman #1 (2016) to the Present Volume 3 (the REBIRTH run).
Unlike with Detective Comics, the third volume of Batman re-launched with a new #1 and is referred to as Volume 3.
So there you have it, folks…a short publication history of the Detective Comics and Batman books as of April, 2018.
As Warner Brothers continues to expand their growing DC Cinematic Universe, to somewhat mixed success, one of their upcoming projects is getting a new screenwriter. The Batgirl movie just switched from having Josh Whedon (Avengers, Justice League, Buffy, among others) replaced by as writer of Batgirl by Christina Hodson, who is best known for her work writing the Transformers film Bumblebee and the 2017 thriller Unforgettable, which starring Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl.
While Whedon’s departure would normally be cause for concern, given his history of hits, the fact that he left because he says he had no real story, leads a fan to think this is a good thing. Also, given that arguably, the best of the DCCU movies was Wonder Woman, which was written and directed by a woman writer, leads fans to hope that having Christina Hodson as the new storyteller is a step in the right direction. In November 2016, Hodson was listed as writer of the Birds of Prey film, based off of the DC Comics Birds of Prey series.
Batgirl, played by Yvonne Craig
Batgirl, played by Alicia Silverstone-1997
Batgirl’s origins are unique in comics. Created as a new character for the third season of the Batman TV show of the 1960s, she was added to the Batman comic book series at the behest of the tv producers. The character was of course a hit, both on screen and in print. Barbara Gordon, the daughter of the Gotham City Police Commissioner, was played on television by Yvonne Craig and in the 1997 Batman and Robin movie by Alicia Silverstone. The lead actress for the new Batgirl film has not yet been announced.
The panel of DC creators at C2E2 also revealed that the new series will match Catwoman against a new villain. At this point, we do not know any details of this newest DC villain. The new Catwoman will be written and drawn by Joëlle Jones. Color by Laura Allred. The variant cover is by Stanley“ARTGERM" Lau. Catwoman #1 hits stores July 4.
And, if you have been following the latest storyline in the ongoing Batman series, involving Catwoman, then you know…
MAJOR BAT-SPOILER HERE. ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO READ ON? THIS IS YOUR ONLY BAT-OR-CAT WARNING…
As we have seen in recent Batman comics, Bats and the Cat are getting hitched. Below is the cover of Batman #44. Note the image in the mirror…Meowww…
The nuptials are planned to hit at Batman #50. It is safe to assume the new Catwoman series will branch off of this event. Stay tuned!
Marvel recently announced a major shakeup in their X-Men comic book universe. Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski tweeted that a big new event was coming, called EXTERMINATION, and the cover art released by Marvel shows the Original 5 (O5) X-Men merging with their older counterparts.
A reader who has kept up with the X-Men the past few years will recall that in 2012, the Beast used a time-machine to pluck the five original X-Men from their time to the “present” day. (NOTE: It appears that these younger, teen-aged mutants were brought from the past from around X-Men #8). In this reader’s opinion, this move introduced a lot of interesting plot points and allowed Marvel (i.e. then-X-Men writer Brian Michael Bendis, who is now with DC Comics, to go deep into a lot of character-driven storylines and dialogue). Interactions between the older X-Men and their teen counterparts made for some interesting stories, ala the two Icemen and teen Cyclops having to deal with the fact that his older self grew up to be a mutant terrorist and all-around jerk. Overall, this crazy change in the X-Men’s world was a winner, in this writer’s opinion.
However, it now looks like Marvel is changing things up again. With the announcement of this Extermination event for August, 2018, fans and analysts are trying to figure out the details. Since the announcement stated that more details would be released at the C2E2 during Marvel’s True Believer panel in Chicago.
The new X-book will be created by writer Ed Brisson and artist Pepe Larraz, with covers by Mark Brooks. The appears to show the two teams (old vs. young) merging, with the tag line “Exterminate the Past. Eliminate the Future." Based on this, it seems that the O5 (also known as the X-Men Blue Team) may be heading back to the past, or perhaps will be eliminated (exterminated?) or otherwise removed from Earth-616 continuity.
And that would be a shame, in our humble opinion. Your thoughts?
X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ s opening has been pushed back from the original November 2, 2018 release date to February 14, 2019, while the interesting-looking New Mutants filme is pushed back for a second time from its original April 13, 2018 release date to February 22, 2019, and now gets delayed to August 2, 2019.
Sophie Turner as Jean Grey (The Dark Phoenix)
Word is that X-Men: Dark Phoenix is undergoing reshoots. This is not necessarily a bad thing, if it means that Fox Studios (remember, they own the rights to the X-Men films-for now at least) wants to get it right (we hope).
Also, in more of a rumor-mill sort of news, the latest star actress to join the X-Universe, Jessica Chastain, is said to be playing the role of Sinister, a particularly nasty evil mutant who has a thing for genetic experimentation on mutants. In the comics, Sinister is male, but there is not much in continuity that would prevent Mr. Sinister from being a Ms. Sinister in films.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is directed by X-Men veteran director Simon Kinberg, and stars returning mutant actors James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Alexandra Shipp (Storm), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), and Evan Peters (Quicksilver).
The big news out of Marvel Comics this week is the announcement by C.B. Cebulski that the First Family of Marvel, the Fantastic Four, are returning as a monthly comic book this summer!
The new Fantastic Four comic will be written by Dan Slott (Amazing Spider-Man, Silver Surfer), with art by the great Sara Pichelli (Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy).
As mentioned in the video below (from Marvel), it is noted that the predecessor stories to the return of the Fantastic Four are found in the current version of Marvel Two-In-One, a series featuring the Thing and the Human Torch. As more information on the return of the FF comes out, we will let you know. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on FF news!
Take a look at the latest Marvel Studios trailer of the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War film.
This movie has basically every superhero thus far introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and will feature the first meeting of the Guardians of the Galaxy with the Earth-based Avengers and other superheroes. As fans know, Thanos (the bad guy), has been behind all sorts of nefarious plots leading back to Loki’s attempt to take over Earth with the Chitauri invasion back in the first Avengers movie. Out on the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Guardians of the Galaxy have been dealing with Thanos and his lackeys (Ronin the Accuser and Nebula) for a while now.
Clearly, Thanos is the big connector for all the moving parts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and, based on this trailer, it should be one heck of a ride. By the way, notice that we have an end-credits-type scene at the conclusion of the trailer?
When standing in line to enter the Emerald City ComicCon on March 4, 2018, it is wise to arrive early, so as to get in among the first wave of fans, but, if you are early enough, you may be able to see the cool stuff the ECCC staff bring out to entertain their waiting guests.
This intrepid ComicCon fan was in such a situation the morning of March 4, 2018, as, waiting with fellow geeks, nerds, cosplayers, and fans of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest pop culture convention. Arriving early is a good habit to be in, with multiple benefits. First, getting a parking spot in the Washington Convention Center parking garage is a premium goal. One year, after arriving late, this fulsome fan had to hoof it for what seemed like a mile from a very remote satellite parking lot (in the famed Seattle rain), to get the privilege of then waiting in the back end of a very long line of fans. Never again, said I, so my habit the past few years has been to get into Seattle very early, secure a good parking spot in the parking garage, and then enjoy a great buffet breakfast at the Seattle Sheraton Daily Grill. This is a popular eating spot for ECCC fans, and there is nothing quite like a heaping plate of scrambled eggs, hash browns, toast, and a ton of fresh fruit while surrounded by my fellow geeks. Where else can you see Klingons eating breakfast with light-saber wielding Jedi?
After fueling up, this full fan, then re-crossed the street (ever notice how Seattleites politely wait for the green “walk” sign to light up?) to the Convention Center. After showing off my pre-purchased ECCC badge, I ended up in a great spot in line, near the stage. And what did my wondering eyes see, but eight tiny Droids, beeping and booping their way near the stage.
With an MC who would make a great carnival barker up on stage in a Droid-themed suit, several very cool-looking Droids started whirling about. The MC introduced each Droid-handler, who detailed how they constructed their little friends. One of the handler-creators, was a young girl who had the smallest Droid, a Repair Droid. Her dad had a standard astromech R2 unit.
Below are some photos of these great Star Wars Droids as seen at Emerald City ComicCon 2018.
How Deadpool’s bromance with Spider-Man in their shared Marvel comic book series highlights the moral dilemmas inherent in the super-hero genre when two heroes with diametrically opposite moral codes develop a partnership and fight the good fight.