BATMAN #42 by Tom King, Mikel Janin, June Chung, and Clayton Cowles
It's really the little things that make BATMAN #42 a success. The plot itself is a tad slow, but it's the way the characters move within that slowness that makes the book interesting. Writer Tom King is a master of character, and it shows in those in-between moments. Mikel Janin, June Chung, and Clayton Cowles's art is wonderful, but most impressive at the extremes. The issue really sets up a lot of good to come in future installments.
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Full Of Finesse

We want comics to make us feel something. That’s the whole point — to take us on an emotional journey. BATMAN #42 certainly takes you on one hell of a journey, that’s for damn sure. Warning, there are spoilers for BATMAN #42 below!

Throw Your Guard Up

If there’s one thing that will immediately put you on edge, it’s Selina Kyle planning her wedding — one in which every single member of the bridal party and every groomsman is Pamela Isley.

BATMAN #42 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Because Selina doesn’t like anyone that much. Sure, she and Ivy spent a lot of time together in GOTHAM CITY SIRENS, but this is clearly too much.

So for pages in BATMAN #42, we only see Selina talking about Ivy. It’s unnerving as all hell, which is clearly what writer Tom King wants. That way, when Batman does cut the tension by bringing Superman to the ground with a single whistle, you literally let out a sigh of relief. Ivy having control of every other superhero is still terrifying, though. So readers should still be on high alert.

Ivy does eventually capture Bruce and Selina, and she has them hung upside down like bats. Bruce pisses Ivy off so much, that she punches him in the face. What sucks, though, is that she does it via her possession of Superman. So Batman dies.

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That’s not exactly what Ivy wanted, so she brings both him and Selina to her hideout. Ivy then gives a whole speech about who she’s been in the past, and how she wants redemption.

Bruce, however, is in with the doctor — Dr. Harleen Quinzel.

It’s The Little Things In BATMAN #42

King is a master when it comes to little moments between characters. BATMAN #42 is no exception.

BATMAN #42 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The conversation between Selina and Bruce about how bats don’t strike fear into the hearts of criminals is absolutely perfect. This is probably a sentiment that many readers have considered for years, so to see this couple actually talk about it in the middle of a terrifying situation is extremely humorous.

Few writers know how to create those touches in between the action as skillfully as King. He likes to let the readers, and the characters, breathe a little bit in the chaos. It’s a ripe moment for us to catch those characters being more “normal.” When no one else would be watching or paying attention, we get to see these people as more than just warriors on a battlefield. They’re not even just characters on a page anymore. King makes them actual people.

This is the kind of writing that takes a book from good to great, and King nails it consistently.

The Grim And The Gorgeous

The art team of Mikel Janin, June Chung, and Clayton Cowles have some outstanding moments in BATMAN #42. They shine the most when they’re dealing in the extremes, though.

The image of Bruce’s face after taking a punch was enough for me to instantly know that he was dead. It’s barbaric and difficult to look at. Yet I kept going back to admire the detail Janin and Chung put on that page.

BATMAN #42 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

On the other hand, their collaboration on Ivy is soft, delicate, and enticing — everything you want from the character. You can’t decide if just looking at her puts you in danger, even if you’re well aware that this is a fictional character on a piece of paper. Their art really does have that effect.

Cowles’s lettering in the Flash scene is particularly noteworthy, but so is the lettering throughout. The way it exudes Ivy’s influence is pretty brilliant.

BATMAN #42 really sets up some interesting places for this team to go in the coming issues. I for one am interested in seeing more from this version of Ivy, even though I didn’t fully buy her speech to Selina. More intriguing is what King will do with Harley Quinn. I have a feeling he’s going to bring something special to this character, and I can’t wait to see what it is.

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