Batman #39 ended with what some may call a controversial ending. Said controversial ending showed Batman and Wonder Woman about to kiss after being locked in a dimension where they don’t age for decade together. With Batman now engaged to Catwoman this ending did not sit well with many fans for what it implied. Now I am more than willing to give Tom King the benefit of the doubt as his run on Batman has been excellent thus far. That excellence makes my trust in King be extremely high and I don’t doubt that King will end this “SuperFriends” arc strong. Let’s see if that is the case with Batman #40.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Joelle Jones
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Selina Kyle demands to know if they knew what would happen in the other dimension. Gentleman says they didn’t.
In the Realm Bruce and Diana lean in to kiss but Bruce stops it by saying they can’t and that he loves Selina very much. Diana agrees as she knows Selina is a good person and deserves someone that is also good. Diana says that if Bruce does try to cheat on Selina that as his friend she will knock him out.
Back in Gotham City Gentleman, with Selina by his side, goes to his wife’s, Angela place for a reunion. They tearfully reunite and spend some time together.
Back in the Realm 24 years have passed and Batman is at the brink of exhaustion. Wonder Woman helps him up so they can continue fighting.
During Year 19 while they fight monsters Batman and Wonder Woman joke about Superman’s lame catchphrases.
Back in Gotham City, Angela tells Gentleman about how she became the fastest detective in her class. As they continue to catch-up Selina asks Gentleman if they could talk.
Outside the apartment Selina asks how much longer this will go on. Gentleman asks for another hour or two which is about a decade for Batman and Wonder Woman in the Realm.
Back at the Realm during Year 14 Wonder Woman is down on one knee after her recent fight. Batman helps her up so that they can continue fighting the horde together.
During Year 31 when Batman mentions missing his dog Wonder Woman reveals she has a pet kangaroo, much to Batman’s surprise.
Back in Gotham City while driving back to the Realm’s portal Gentleman says he needed to see his wife even if it meant lying to Batman and Wonder Woman. He says he could not live another day without seeing his wife at least one more time which is why he lied about how things work in the Realm to Batman and Wonder Woman.
While getting ready to open the portal Selina tells Gentleman that while she didn’t grow up seeing love like he did she sees it now and thanks him for that. Gentleman says Selina does not need to thank him with what he has to do to return to his role in fighting the horde that is everlasting.
During Year 37 in the Realm while Batman and Wonder Woman are fighting the horde a bright light consumes them. Suddenly Batman and Wonder Woman trade places with Gentleman.
A little later Batman and Wonder Woman hug and say goodbye to each other. Wonder Woman then thanks Selina for saving them years. Wonder Woman goes on to say she knows who Selina is said to be but she believes Selina is a hero. She goes on to say she is happy that Batman found his love in Selina.
Wonder Woman then asks Batman and Catwoman what she should tell Gentleman the next time he asks for a favor. Catwoman says to tell Gentleman that the next time Batman’s wife will join her husband in battle. Wonder Woman says then maybe the horde won’t be everlasting and flies away.
Batman goes to admit something and Catwoman asks if he did something bad with Wonder Woman. Batman says it wasn’t anything bad but he wasn’t good enough so he wants to keep trying to be better. End of issue.
The Good: As with the issue preceding it Batman #40 does a great job playing with the readers emotions. From the opening to the ending we see how Tom King not only further strengthens Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle as a engaged couple but also the friendship between Batman and Wonder Woman. This all turned what fans may have raged about into something that defines a strong future for the Batman series under King’s guidance.
Opening the Batman #40 with Selina Kyle demanding Gentleman to admit the truth about the Realm to her was appropriate. While this was completely in Selina’s character it also tapped into how some hardcore fans reacted to the end of Batman #39. After how much work has been put into making this latest relationship between Bruce and Selina a permanent thing it would be extremely upsetting to see it thrown out the window due to Batman and Wonder Woman giving into temptation. And Gentleman admitting that he did in fact lie to Batman and Wonder Woman made this entire opening more on point.
Selina’s rage played in well to seeing Bruce and Diana almost kiss. Bruce being the one that stopped the kiss from actually happening was a strong moment. It showed that while Bruce may have given in any other status quo the fact is that he is at a point in his life where he doesn’t want to destroy due to one dumb decision. Selina has opened a part of Bruce that he never thought he would open up to. Bruce telling that to Diana only strengthened the bond he has to Selina and the importance of their relationship.
By not going through with the kiss King was able to shift the scenes with Batman and Wonder Woman to be about their bond as friends. Each time we saw the two fighting the hordes in the Realm we got to see how they kept each other going. It highlighted how one of the things that bonds Batman and Wonder Woman is their warrior spirits. Including a joke about how lame Superman’s boy scout routine was a nice addition of lighthearted comedy that fits into the years of fighting they were in.
The action going in the Realm was nicely balanced out by Gentleman’s spending time with his wife. King did a good job making the reader understand that the reason for Gentleman’s lie was just to get a few hours with his wife. Given that he has been fighting the horde for such a long time it is only reasonable that he would want one moment with the person he cares most for, even if it meant lying to Batman and Wonder Woman.
This made Selina’s own character arc in this “SuperFriends” story even stronger. While we have been seeing how Selina is becoming the rock in Bruce’s life she is still trying to find a way to live a normal life. Watching Gentleman and his wife spend time together opened Selina’s eyes to this fact. It’s something we actually haven’t seen since the engagement happened. But now that she has seen what a strong loving relationship looks like Selina can be more open to being “normal” then she did before.
All of this character development from both sides of Batman #40’s story made the ending even stronger as both Batman and Wonder Woman grew a greater understanding of what the Gentleman has been through. That appreciation made Batman and Wonder Woman still be open to help Gentleman again a sweet moment as everyone was made better from these events. Selina coming in to tell Wonder Woman that next time she will join her husband was a good way to leave the friendly standing between the two. This also builds interest in seeing Catwoman and Wonder Woman interacting more in the future, possibly in their own team-up adventure.
Joelle Jones was the right fight for this story that leaned more towards the Wonder Woman mythology involving the horde at the realm. Jones excelled at showing the struggle that Batman and Wonder Woman were going through and how they kept each other sane while constantly fighting the horde. She also did a great job at showing how much it meant to the Gentleman to spend time with his wife again. That time he spent with his wife added weight to how much he wished he didn’t have to go back to fighting the horde.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batman #40 is an excellent close to the “SuperFriends” story arc. From the friendship between Batman and Wonder Woman to the continued progression of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle’s growing relationship everyone involved grew stronger. With how much emotion he packed into Batman #40 Tom King was able to add some fun, light hearted moments when needed. With great artwork from Joelle Jones this “SuperFriends” arc is something fans will enjoy for all the ups and downs the characters went through.