Tom King’s “Knightmares” story arc took a short break as Batman became involved in a Heroes In Crisis crossover with the Flash for the last two issues. Now that we are back to what is going on with the “Knightmares” arc King can continue to explore the inner psyche of Batman and Bruce Wayne. With this issue we will be seeing the “return” of Selina Kyle back in Bruce’s life. With that comes a lot of questions. Though given that this is all a dream scenario what answers we do get is anyone’s guess. Let’s find that out now with Batman #66.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Jorge Fornes
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After lighting her cigarette Selina Kyle asks The Question if he does everything Batman wants. The Question responds by saying “In His Dreams.”
Selina then talks about how she met Bruce on the streets where they were just attracted to how they each moved. The Question mentions that Bruce said they first met on a boat. Selina says that is what Bruce thinks.
When the Question asks if either of them are lying Selina wonders why she is there since she wrote Bruce a note. The Question says she can leave if she wants which Selina doubts.
The Question then asks when did it all start.
Selina recalls one of her diamond heist jobs at a museum. It was then that Batman tried to stop her only to be be surrounded by Two-Face’s gang as Two-Face and Catwoman were working together. As Two-Face’s gang prepared to kill him Selina reveals that she was actually working with Batman to catch Two-Face, which they did after an extended fight.
After that Batman and Catwoman got together but eventually broke it off. As Selina states, they would go on to date others but would always return to each other. The Question says that was the case until Selina didn’t return.
Selina asks if The Question read the note. The Question said he did and it made him cry. He asks Selina to talk about the note.
Selina talks about how Batman is not like them. He doesn’t have powers like Superman and Wonder Woman, all he has is his vow to to avenge his parents death by warring on all criminals. She then talks about how they all train and work to be superheroes but none of them are Batman because only Bruce can be Batman. Selina states that to be Batman means to put everything he has, including every pain, doubt, instinct of retreat or surrender and love, into the identity.
The Question wonders if that means she thinks Bruce can’t be happy and be Batman at the same time. Selina reminds The Question of what Bruce said in the past:
“I’m Batman because I’m Batman.”
Selina states he can’t be anything and be Batman at the same time. The Question does not believe that. Selina says she does not care.
They then go back and forth about how Bruce and Selina love each other. The Question eventually gets tired of the back and forth and demands to know Selina’s reason for leaving because Bruce needs it.
As they continue to talk Selina asks where Bruce is. The Question says he is stuck in a series of nightmares. Selina says that he will escape. The Question states that this is his escape which is why he is here to find out the truth. Selina wonders if that means The Question is the answer. The Question says he is not.
Selina continues to state she left a note. The Question responds by saying he knows that already and if her reason for leaving was to make Bruce strong than why is he so weak.
Selina and The Question then sit quietly as neither of them is getting anywhere. Selina then admits she lied. End of issue.
The Good: Batman #66 is a comic that goes around in circles and is well aware of that it is doing that. The problem with the direction Tom King chooses for this chapter of “Knightmares” is that it does nothing that other issues in this story arc haven’t done. And given that Detective Comics just wrapped up doing something similar the sense that the story in Batman #66 is special is almost non-existent.
With that said, there were a few positives in Batman #66. One of those was the use of The Question. It was refreshing to see The Question finally be used after he has been MIA for such a long time. King showed he had a very good understanding of how to write an intriguing version of The Question.
What made this version of The Question better was how King balanced writing the character with Bruce Wayne’s voice occasionally coming through. It was a very careful thing to balance because it could have easily come across as Bruce cosplaying as The Question while talking to Selina Kyle. This properly fed into how this is all going on in Bruce’s head and the reality is he is just battling himself in this interrogation.
Jorge Fornes delivered fitting artwork for what Batman #66 turned out to be. He captured the grounded feel of this entire issue as much of it took place in an interrogation room. There was a classic look to Fornes artwork as well. That was especially clear with how he drew the team-up with Batman and Catwoman that showed them in one of their original costumes. It all fit in well with the different time periods King explored in Batman #66.
The Bad: The biggest problem #66 is that by the end of the issue we are in the spot as when the issue started. There was nothing new introduced in this issue that added to the direction of the “Knightmares” story. All we ended up doing was going around in circles just to discover Bruce is still dealing with the pain of being left at the altar with only a note to explain why Selina did that to him.
Selina just constantly repeating to read the note did not help the story. Of course we already know that this note by Selina was a heartbreaking thing to read for Bruce. Learning more about the contents of the note would’ve gone a long way to help not feel that we were being fed the same information that we knew before Batman #66.
And throughout Batman #66 King had the opportunity to actually answer a few things, such as the true first meeting between Bruce and Selina. This is something that we have seen both characters go back and forth on, which King himself introduced. Finally going into why Bruce and Selina feel that they are correct about their first true meeting would have gone a long way to clarify a few things. It would have at least added some new information for us to learn as the reader while adding to the “Knightmares” arc exploring Bruce’s current state of mind.
This all caused the whole talk about Bruce not being able to be Batman and happy at the same time fall flat. It is all just a repeat of what King has talked about. The way it was written it felt that Batman #66 was more of a recap rather than a true chapter of the bigger story that King is telling with this “Knightmares” story arc.
It does not help that we already saw Peter Tomasi explore a similar plot point about Bruce’s vow as Batman over in Detective Comics. In Tomasi’s first Detective Comics story up he clarified why Bruce does not see him as anything other than Batman. Batman is who he is. King revisiting will just feel like a rehash for fans who are reading both comics. And with “Knightmares” taking a break it does make this story feel old because of this similar story in Detective Comics by Tomasi just wrapping up.
Overall: Batman #66 does nothing new to progress the overall narrative of the “Knightmares” story arc. Tom King just goes around in circles with the drama around the failed wedding between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. By the end of Batman #66 we are at the same spot where we started and that is just unacceptable with the high standard King has set for this series.
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