Review – Batman #43 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin
Colours: June Chung
Inks: Mikel Janin
Release Date: 21st March 2018

There are often times when we feel that if we could be in charge of the world and call all the shots, it would be a much better place. Well, that dream becomes a reality for Poison Ivy, and what we end up with is a nightmare world run by someone who genuinely wants to make the world better – but in the most heart-breaking way.

The entire tale runs as a direct follow-up to “The War of Jokes and Riddles” and features the same creative team led by writer Tom King. We are shown once more just how well Catwoman and Batman work as a team, with each attempting to get through to Ivy in different ways – Selina in person and Bruce through the controlled bodies of two Supermen and Harley Quinn. We get to see a woman so far pushed beyond the edge that she attempts to fix everything in one go, and the pressure that puts on her mind is easy to see.

King has done a fantastic job in showing us a different side to some of the biggest names in Batman’s rogues gallery. We have borne witness to a frightening, non-comedic version of the Joker in the War of Jokes and Riddles and now we see another side of Ivy. We see her love for the planet, its inhabitants and, of course, a certain someone that may end up being her salvation.

The artistic combo of Mikel Janin and June Chung works incredibly well. The issue is all about emotion more than anything else, and Janin does a wonderful job of conveying that through the faces of his cast. Ivy’s expressions really show how much she is struggling with her actions and with the strain of trying to control an entire planet. We can see her trying push through but the pain seeps through in almost every panel. The colours used by Chung to bring Ivy’s domain to life give the book an otherworldly dream like appearance which works well with the state of disarray the entire world is in.

King’s run on Batman has been a more cerebral take on the Bat, his allies and villains, and that trend continues here. We are forced to view the inner workings of some of his most powerful adversaries’ minds and are given a rare glimpse at the humanity behind some of their motivations. The world is not made up of black and white, good and evil, and here specifically we are shown how well this concept works in the DCU.

The payoff in this issue is genuinely emotional, and is one that does rely on the reader being invested in the series, the characters and being caught up on the events that occurred prior to this. For this reason, I would advise new readers to either collect the two previous instalments or jump on with issue 44 instead. For everyone else this is a slightly abrupt yet undeniably well-written ending to an enjoyable tale that shines a sympathetic light on one of Batman’s greatest foes.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
Dave Tweets from @ShinKagato

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