Dreams are a phenomenon that we as humans continue to struggle to understand. Sometimes, they parallel our most covert thoughts. Other times, they seem to make no sense at all. As of late, The Dark Knight has been embroiled in his own tumultuous saga of dreams. These dreams, more like nightmares, have been chaotic in nature and violent. These nightmares ultimately persist in BATMAN #63 as John Constantine enters The Dark Knight’s mindscape in an effort to assist Batman’s inner turmoil.

BATMAN #63 is a frustrating work, to say the least. It continues the shortcomings exhibited in BATMAN #62 and various issues prior that comprise a struggle to find new ground to cover besides the breakup between Batman and Catwoman. This constant revisitation of Batman’s grief as a consequence of that breakup has grown taxing mainly because there has been no plot progression in regard to that grief in recent issues. As a result, it becomes hard to enjoy a story such as BATMAN #63 when no new developments seem to take place.

batman #63
BATMAN #63 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Cigarettes and Sadness

BATMAN #63 commences on that fateful rooftop, the one where Bruce Wayne found himself stood up at his own wedding. This time though, Selina Kyle actually appears, resulting in an intimate embrace between her and Bruce. These tender moments continue as the issue revisits happier times between the former couple. Though, all is revealed when John Constantine appears in the midst of these moments, simply stating that they are all the product of a hopeful dream. Thus, the majority of BATMAN #63 features a tension between Batman’s dreams of joyous moments with Catwoman and Constantine’s attempts to ground Batman in reality. However, Constantine’s role in this issue never successfully establishes itself, nor do most aspects of the issue.

The ambiguity that makes up BATMAN #63 is primarily due to the instability of the dream setting. This ultimately makes for a work that fails to make much progress. The dreams do not facilitate any character development on Batman’s end. They also fall short in moving the plot forward.

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BATMAN #63 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

What is Going Wrong?

Consequently, this issue is just incredibly frustrating. It is hard to interpret what we as readers are supposed to derive from it. This constant revisitation of the events of BATMAN #50 has grown quite frustrating. Of course, those events will continue to haunt Batman. However, the “Cold Days” arc, for example, proves how those events can influence Batman without overcoming the overarching tale. “Cold Days” gave us something rather new.

It gave us a new perspective on Bruce Wayne himself. Thus, that arc provided dynamic developments out of the melancholy Batman was experiencing. BATMAN #63 does not do any of this. It wallows in the consequences of BATMAN #50 rather than making something constructive out of them. As a result, I hope this dreamscape comes to a close sooner rather than later for everyone’s sake.

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BATMAN #63 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Many Hues of BATMAN #63

Thankfully, there is one major positive aspect of BATMAN #63 and that lies in Mikel Janin’s fabulous artwork. He never misses a beat in any panel. He captures every action, every expression to a tee. As a result, each panel feels like a moving image. We are immersed in Batman’s dreamscape, we are submerged in these happier times. Interestingly though, much of these joyous moments maintain a sense of foreboding. This sense is established by colorist Jordie Bellaire who exhibits a gorgeous array of hues.

I particularly enjoy the purple backgrounds exhibited in the opening pages depicting an alternate outcome of BATMAN #50. They lighten the moment while also providing a sense of sentimentality. I also enjoy the juxtaposition Bellaire exhibits in certain sequences. Constantine’s coat maintains neutral tones that often contrast the bold hues of Batman’s dreamscape. This contrast seems to exemplify Constantine’s grounding in reality as Batman succumbs to the hopeless wishfulness of his subconscious. Therefore, despite the context of the issue itself. BATMAN #63’s artwork is definitely not a misstep.

What Lies Beyond

When it comes to what lies beyond this issue, I truly have no idea. BATMAN #63 leaves me with no clue as to what predict for the next issue, and that is not necessarily a good thing. This unpredictably derives from a loss of touch with the plot, a consequence of the last few issues’ dormancy. So, I hope upcoming issues change the pace the series has fallen into as of late to awaken the narrative once more.

dream a little dream of me
BATMAN #63 shares many of the faults its predecessor maintains as it struggles to move this current arc and overall series forward in a dynamic manner.
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