Every groom needs a best man. At least, that’s how the tradition usually goes. So, if that’s the case, Batman needs a best man too. The predecessor to BATMAN #49 showcases the Joker’s claim for the spot. In an intimate meeting with Batman inside a church, the Joker goes on and on about his history with the Dark Knight.

He admires the fact that they go way back and have come to learn so much about each other. So, who better to be Batman’s best man than the villain who has been there from the start? Unsurprisingly though, the Joker had an ulterior motive the whole time. When a bomb he planted within the church explodes, Batman falls unconscious.

Now, it is up to Catwoman to intervene and save her fiancée from the clutches of the Joker once and for all. Warning, potential spoilers are below!

batman #49
BATMAN #49 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The End Of The Man Who Laughs

Like its predecessor, BATMAN #49 is dependent on dialogue. However, the dialogue of this installment is much more retrospective and less one-sided. The issue kicks off with the Joker reflecting on the simpler times of Gotham City with Catwoman, the times when villains were merely one-dimensional.

Unlike the Joker though, Catwoman isn’t feeling sentimental. So, the two engage in a fight that results in Catwoman clawing the Joker’s throat right as he shoots her in the stomach. So, the rest of the issue depicts the two holding onto their respective wounds so that they won’t bleed out.

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As they linger on the brink of death, the Joker and Catwoman engage in various random, yet significant, conversations. In one of them, Joker asks Catwoman why she never seemed to find humor in fighting Batman throughout her criminal career. She states it was because whatever she or other villains ever did, Batman always prevailed. He later asks why Batman only loved Catwoman instead of him or any other villain.

Catwoman responds by saying that she was the only one who made an effort to know Batman for who he really is.

Now, that response sets the Joker off. Despite his grave injury, he prepares to shoot and kill Catwoman. He claims that if Batman finds love, and thus happiness, his relationship with Batman will vastly change. Joker believes his crimes have given Batman purpose.

Thus, if Batman finds himself removed from the Joker, they both will be at a loss of identity. Before he can fire off a round though, Joker collapses. Batman finally makes his appearance in the issue, albeit off-screen just as Catwoman, who is holding an unresponsive Joker in her arms, erupts into maniacal laughter.

The Cat and the Clown

The best aspect of BATMAN #49 is the way in which writer Tom King exemplifies Batman’s importance to Catwoman and the Joker. There is a pull amongst all three of these characters, contributing to each other’s existence. The Bat, the Cat, and the Clown ultimately need each other in order to be defined as the heroes, or villains, they are meant to be. Their histories are intertwined.

So, it is only natural that an event such as Batman and Catwoman’s wedding will address that. I also enjoy the Joker’s opening statements regarding the simplicity of Batman’s villains that is now a thing of the past. Villains no longer maintain simple motives or crimes. Rather, Batman’s rogues’ gallery comprises characters whose motivations are not so obvious, motivations that are revealed in brutal, unforgivable acts of crime.

However, who would Batman be without that gallery’s increasing population and their endless crimes?

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BATMAN #49 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of BATMAN #49

The artwork of BATMAN #49 is absolutely stunning. The main cover by Mikel Janin as well as the variant cover by Stanley Lau is gorgeous in each and every aspect. In regard to the content of the issue itself, Janin excels in the work’s simplicity.

It is incredibly easy for the depiction of action sequences to succumb to a chaotic appearance. BATMAN #49 subverts that phenomenon as Janin exemplifies a minimalist depiction of action in the fight between Catwoman and Joker. June Chung bolsters the beauty of that particular sequence by incorporating bold pops of color in the midst of the action.

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The coordination of these two artists in that respective sequence results in an emphasis on the intimacy of the fight. These two individuals are very much familiarized with each other. Thus, the fight is more than just the action. It is a culmination of past occurrences between these iconic characters, and that depth bleeds through the art.

In regard to the rest of the issue, the attention to detail is phenomenal. Thus, BATMAN #49 never misses a beat in its imagery that is simply beautiful, to say the least.

What Lies Beyond

After reading BATMAN #48, I totally thought BATMAN #49 would be just as much of a filler as its predecessor. Sure, this particular arc is arguably not the most essential. However, this issue is special.

Its simplicity carries much weight as it presents an intimate picture of characters who remain essential to Batman’s characterization. It also manages to paint a portrait of Batman’s influence on the villains he has spent his life fighting without even depicting Batman. As a result, this issue possesses the insight into its characters and story that many previous issues have failed to include.

In BATMAN #49, the characters of Catwoman, Joker, and Batman do not come across as pawns moving through a narrative. Rather, they are the centerpiece by which the narrative revolves around.

As a result of these details, the path to BATMAN #50 has been gorgeously paved.

Now, the wedding of the century is officially here.

BATMAN #49 by Tom King, Mikel Janin, & June Chung
Art
Characterization
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Summary
BATMAN #49 has it all. From gorgeous artwork to immense attention to detail, the issue never misses a beat and is undoubtedly worth a read.
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2 Comments

  1. The End Of The Joker Is Nigh In BATMAN #49

    June 26, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    […] (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); BATMAN #49 is a near-perfect work from start to finish. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Source link […]

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  2. DC Fan

    June 22, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Where are the gcpd? There were gunshots and an explosion? Of course they don’t show because that would mess up the forced issue. Jokers throat sliced? Who cares! He can still talk for hours! Batman should be able to shake off the explosion like the joker did? Nope, he was poisoned off panel. Joker shoots at least 30 bullets in the past two issues from a gun that holds less than half of that amount but runs out just in time to have to talk to Selina and then mentions a”magazine” for a gun that uses no such thing! Attention to detail? Check out the first wife shot of the church and notice the stained glass that Batman crashed through is now fixed? This issue and the last 6 show that Tom King had no interest in setting up the wedding except with shock and cliches can service. Then it all ends with some giggling while an entire wedding party lies dead within arms length of ba t and cat. Batman won? No, everyone lost! Not to mention the other church joker shot up before getting to this one. Who cares though, we will all laugh and head to the wedding!

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