Before Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle walk down the aisle Booster Gold has decided to give Bruce a special wedding present. But as expected, Booster Gold completely botched his delivery method as he has completely changed the DC Universe to show Bruce a life where his parents lived. As it turns out, as bad as things are in this new DC Universe Bruce does not want to return to how things used to be in the Prime DCU. That big revelation made Batman #45 an even better read when re-reading the issue. Now with all that established let’s see how Booster Gold plans to fix things with Batman #46.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Tony S. Daniel
Inker: Sandu Florea
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: One year later Booster Gold breaks into Arkham Asylum and frees Catwoman, who can only say “Meow,” from her cell.
At Wayne Tower Thomas Wayne tells Bruce about Booster Gold breaking Catwoman out of Arkham Asylum. Thomas talks about how this will lead to Batman, Penguin and Ra’s Al Ghul to turn Gotham City into an even bigger warzone. As he goes over how things just turned out horribly Thomas has a heart attack.
At an unknown location Booster Gold tells Catwoman how big of a fan he is of Batman and knows that the best way to fix things is to remind Bruce how no matter the reality he will always love Selina. Booster Gold then mentions that they just need to get Catwoman her costume.
At a church Bruce prays to God to save his father.
On the rooftops Booster Gold tells Catwoman that he sewed her costume thanks to his past experience. He mentions that the wanted to go get Blue Beetle’s help but because he took Batman’s spot as a founding member of the Justice League they all ended up dying when they fought Starro. Catwoman listen to this in her new costume while still only saying “Meow.”
At the hospital waiting room Bruce and Martha listen to a news report on Jason Todd’s release after the court ruled in favor of Jason not being responsible for the recent children deaths due to his car security.
Thomas’ doctor asks Martha to follow him but Martha says the Waynes don’t follow. Thomas’ doctor relents and reveals that Thomas is doing well.
In another part of Gotham City, Catwoman is attacked by Batman (Dick Grayson). Booster Gold is able to shield Catwoman and gives them a opening to run away from Batman.
Booster Gold flies Catwoman out of the area and says they might have to be more direct by going to the Wayne Mansion before Batman kills them.
At the Wayne Mansion Thomas and Bruce are relaxing while drinking some tea. Bruce is happy to see his father doing well.
Booster Gold and Catwoman suddenly show up. When Alfred confronts the duo Catwoman immediately kills Alfred. Catwoman then attacks Thomas.
Batman shows up and shots Catwoman from behind. He then quickly knocks Booster Gold out with a grenade. Batman and Catwoman start fighting. Looking to end things quickly Batman tries to shoot Catwoman but misses and instead shoots Martha.
Seeing all this Bruce grabs a gun and shoots Batman in the head. Bruce is then the last one standing as Batman, Catwoman, Thomas and Martha are all bleeding on the ground.
Booster Gold, who is still on the ground, expresses how relieved he is to have saved the world. End of issue.
The Good: As an alternate universe story Batman #46 definitely stands out as something completely unexpected. Tom King gets across how horribly the good intentions of Booster Gold can make things. And while this is all about what Bruce’s life would be like with his parenthis is a Booster Gold story.
Seeing how Booster Gold continued to be blinded by his own goal of showing Bruce that he has his best life in the current Prime DC Universe has been fascinating. Unlike when Superman was shown what life would’ve been like if Krypton never exploded, things in Gotham City are far from being a utopia. The world in which we are seeing all of our favorite characters exist make everything Booster Gold doing just feel like he is making things worse. And while that would normally make Booster Gold annoying King does a very good job in making the character still likable in his own way, especially with how he interacts with Catwoman.
Speaking of which, King did a good job playing up how there was something traumatizing that happened to Selina Kyle that made her only say “Meow.” Part of what made Catwoman’s characterization so well was how Tony Daniel drew her. Something about her composure and when King had her say “Meow” made you feel like there is deep history with Catwoman. At the same time, while it would be great to get more into that I’m glad King didn’t. Instead he just gave us enough context clues to figure this world’s Catwoman’s origins out with everything else that has happened. Seeing how she went crazy and killed Thomas and fought Batman there is a deeper history with the character that would be interesting to explore if we ever came back to this world.
Having an extreme Dick Grayson as Batman as the antagonist worked to further show how bad Booster Gold made things. Dick being a killer makes sense for this version of Gotham City that is post-apocalyptic. Dick as Batman makes you wonder what happened to this world to make things the way they are and Dick even pick up this specific costume. Dick’s methods as Batman also made things more urgent for Booster Gold to get things back to how they were before.
All that we see go on in Gotham City does make Bruce Wayne wanting to stay in this world because his parents are alive a much more desperate thing. Seeing how much Bruce wants his parents to stay alive after Thomas’ heart attack made you feel sad for the character. In the short scene with the hospital we saw that Bruce knew this isn’t how the world is supposed to be. At the same time he doesn’t want to know anything different. All of these emotions Bruce is going through made the ending with him standing while his parents, Batman and Catwoman lay around him bleeding out.
What made all this world even more effective was Tony Daniel’s excellent artwork. Daniel did a great job making this a Gotham City no one would want to live. It made Bruce staying consistent in not wanting to change things because his parents are alive an even sadder thing. At the same time, Daniel was able to do a good job making this world’s Batman a strong antagonist to push the story forward. There was a sense of fear with this Batman as at any moment that Booster Gold and Catwoman stopped moving it felt he would kill them.
The Bad: As fascinating of a world that King creates in Batman #46 it did feel like we could’ve gotten more about what is going on around our main characters. While we got a little bit through the scenery and the brief mention of Jason Todd’s trial it would’ve been good to see more of what is going on in the streets. It would’ve helped paint a better picture to see what characters in the GCPD are doing since they are so integral to the franchise. Not seeing that made the chaotic nature of Gotham City feel more like an aesthetic than a true living and breathing world.
And while you do get what Booster Gold was trying to do by showing Bruce his life in the Prime DCU is his best life it does not make the character look great. Batman #46 just further highlights why it is hard to get behind Booster Gold’s character. Because after spending a year in this world, rather than learning from his mistakes he just goes tries to dig a deeper hole for himself because that is who he is. There is no sense of Booster Gold growing through his mistakes and that is not the type of character that can lead a story for a long time.
Overall: Batman #46 is an enjoyable Elseworld tale of what would’ve happened if Bruce’s parents would’ve been alive. The post-apocalyptic setting created a lot of interesting opportunities for Tom King to explore various characters from Batman’s mythos in different roles. At the same time there is a bit to the world that does not fully tap into the potential of this world. Though some life is given to the Gotham City we get in Batman #46 thanks to so great artwork from Tony Daniel.