The Batman/Catwoman series has been such an uneven reading experience. The choice by Tom King to have the story split up into three different time periods has made things difficult to follow to say the least. But the previous issue of this series did show that as we have reached the half-way point of Batman/Catwoman we will be getting into King’s ultimate endgame. That could start with Batman/Catwoman #7 as Catwoman and Phantasm have taken Batman out of the equation for the time being. Will this choice come back to haunt them? Let’s find out with Batman/Catwoman #7.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Liam Sharp
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Sometime in the past Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle decide to spend their Christmas night having sex.
Years later Bruce finds himself naked and alone in a room after Catwoman and Phantasm knocked him out. Selina left Bruce a note revealing that he has been placed in the Bank of Gotham with the alarms already set off so she can go kill the Joker with Andrea.
In the future Commissioner Dick Grayson leads the GCPD to the Wayne Manor. Commissioner Grayson rings the doorbell and Selina answers it without attempting to fight. Instead, Selina walks with Commissioner Grayson to the squad car while reminiscing what Bruce once told her about his and Dick’s time as the Dynamic Duo. During this talk Selina mentions that Bruce had Dick wear his bright Robin costume in an attempt to make Joker think nothing of him and never think of killing Dick.
Back in the past after having sex, Bruce reveals he knows Joker was in Selina’s apartment. Selina tells Bruce a joke Joker once told her to get him to better understand who Joker is.
Years later, Bruce breaks out of the handcuffs Catwoman and Phantasm put on him. He then cuts his forehead so he can cover his face in blood so the cops don’t notice who he really is.
In the future, Batwoman (Helena Wayne) looks at her father’s Batman suit in a case. Batwoman reflects on how she did what Bruce taught her to do. Helena admits she still doesn’t understand her parents relationship or how Bruce and Selina even ended up together. She admits that like Bruce she still loves her mom even after all she did to them.
Back in the past, Selina tells Bruce that the Batsignal is on. Bruce says they can’t keep doing this. Selina tells Bruce to leave and not come back. As they look at each other Selina tells Bruce she knows where Joker is but won’t ever tell him. They then kiss.
Years later, a blood covered and naked Bruce fights his way through a wave of GCPD officers. After knocking out the last one Bruce puts on one of the GCPD officers gear on so he can make his escape.
In the future, Selina gets her mug shot taken.
Back in the past, Batman meets Commissioner Jim Gordon at a crime scene where Joker killed a bunch of people in Santa Claus costumes. Commissioner Gordon says they have to put an end to the Joker and his madness.
In the Batcave, Bruce meets up with an injured Catwoman and asks her what happened. Catwoman reveals when Phantasm went to kill him Joker whispered something that got her to stop. She goes on to say that when she asked Phantasm what Joker said Phantasm used her scythe to instead cut her. Phantasm then covered the Batcave in smoke and took off with the Joker. Catwoman says that once the smoke cleared Phantasm and Joker were gone and she was left alone.
In the future, Selina is signing Christmas music while taking out a pin from her heel. End of issue.
The Good: As many chances as I want to give Tom King to deliver a strong ending for his Batman and Catwoman narrative it is getting harder to trust that is how things will conclude. Batman/Catwoman #7 gives me the greatest amount of concern that we are not going to get that epic conclusion once promised.
The one positive of this issue from the writing side was Helena Wayne’s brief appearance. Tom King’s writing for Helena Wayne’s Batwoman has been one of the most consistently well done things about Batman/Catwoman. Seeing how she is not only struggling to carry Bruce’s legacy but also that of Selina’s is fascinating to watch. Question how her parents even ended up together really makes me want to see how Helena’s character arc will all factor into the larger narrative King is shaping for this series.
Normally I love Liam Sharp’s artwork but his art for Batman/Catwoman #7 was at the high level I normally expect from him. That said, there were still moments in this issue where Sharp really shined. Sharp did a particularly good job showing how a switch got flipped in Bruce when he was getting ready to fight the GCPD. Seeing him cut his forehead so he could cover himself in blood was incredibly intense.
The Bad: Batman/Catwoman #7 is just a mess of a story. That all comes down to the fact that King just can’t help but tell rather than show the reader how epic this story is. We are now past the half-way point but King can’t help but insert himself as the narrator of the story through Selina Kyle’s character in all three time periods.
It is absolutely ridiculous that King expects the reader to be more impacted by Catwoman telling us what went down with Joker and Phantasm after all the build up to this confrontation. This should’ve been the moment where King started to payoff the six issues of build up to make Catwoman and Phantasm bringing Joker to the Batcave with the intentions of killing him an memorable moment in this series. But instead of showing us how Phantasm gets impacted by whatever Joker whispered to get her to turn on Catwoman we just get that event through a bunch of exposition. As a reader I feel absolutely robbed of a major moment promised in the previous six issues.
This narrative choice also makes Selina Kyle into a character that I’m already done with reading more about. Which I never thought I would say given how well written Selina has been through King’s run before Batman/Catwoman. But the fact is Selina has completely dominated the series to the point no other character can have moments to build an incredibly layered narrative. Which happens over and over again throughout Batman/Catwoman #7.
The character that most suffers because of King’s Selina Kyle obsession is Andrea Beaumont. It is mind boggling that King did not take the opportunity to make an easy slam dunk of a character moment by showing us the scene with Joker. Not taking this opportunity deemphasizes Andrea arc because King is obsessed with getting over Selina’s part in all three time periods. Batman/Catwoman should be a chance to bring in Andrea as a person and as Phantasm into the main DC Universe in a compelling way. But her entire narrative gets lost because of story choices made for one character to overshadow everyone else.
Batman/Catwoman #7 also makes Bruce Wayne out to be the biggest idiot when it comes to Joker and Catwoman. The three different time periods just reminds the reader how Bruce always fails to act against these two for different reasons. With Joker its about his code while with Selina his love for her forever blinds him to every bad thing she does. It would be one thing if this narrative was taking place over the course of one time period. But showing us two time periods of this happening just makes Bruce out to be the worst character that is hard to be interested in even when he gets a badass moment.
As mentioned earlier, this wasn’t the best artwork I have seen from Sharp. I have seen him deliver incredible artwork in the past and this just doesn’t measure up. The choices in setting make it tough to figure out what exactly is going on in certain scenes.
Overall: There are so many missed opportunities in Batman/Catwoman #7 that it gets to the point of being infuriating. That anger all comes from have such high hopes Tom King would deliver an epic conclusion to his Batman run. Now after this issue I’m not so sure anymore. Which makes all the emotions I am left with for this series turn into sadness with that realization.
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