Subway Shorts – Costume Party

It’s double date night as Bruce and Selina and Clark and Lois go to the county fair and swap costumes for the night in the latest issue of Batman! Tom King’s complete deconstruction of the Dark Knight continues!

Batman 37
Written by Tom King
Art by Clay Mann, Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez and Jordie Bellaire

I think this issue of Batman, the conclusion of the SUPERFRIENDS two-parter, really sums up my conflicting feelings about Tom King’s run on Batman. Some of the dialogue is great and produces fun moments, but his depiction of Batman, overall, is just not as awe-inspiring as the rest of what he’s done for DC Comics.

After the events of the LAST ISSUE, Bruce and Selina agree to a night out with Lois and Clark, as the two most important heroes in the universe are depicted as being awkward with each other because Bruce never told Clark he proposed. So a night out at the fair allows everyone to get on the same page. The hitch? It’s costume night, so Bruce puts on the Superman suit; Clark becomes the Batman and Lois becomes Catwoman. Selina just puts on Lois’ dress.

Throughout the issue, the relationship between Bruce and Clark is shown to be much more strained than it really needs to be, with conversations being cut short with monosyllabic responses from Batman, usually just him going “No” to things requests from everyone.

There’s also, weirdly, a lot of baseball, as the two heroes spend some time in the batting cages and end the issue at a baseball stadium so Bruce can hit a fastball pitched by Clark. Apparently, Tom King likes the whole “Bat-God” thing Grant Morrison perpetrated back in the late-1990s.

While I found much of the interactions between Clark and Bruce to be way too over-the-top with Bruce’s brusqueness, the issue did provide a lot more fun moments than the previous issue did, like Bruce and Clark stopping a purse snatcher with a baseball, so as to not reveal their identities.

The best part of the issue, though, was the interactions between Lois and Selina, who seemed to get on like old friends. It may have been the flask that they were sharing throughout the night while their partners competed for no reason what-so-ever.

King even manages to poke a little fun at his own storytelling, as Selina tells Lois that Bruce wouldn’t let her give him an answer to his marriage proposal until he told her a story about Kite-Man. Lois and Selina’s interactions there pretty much aped my feelings on the whole thing.

I’m sure this two-issue arc is going to be lauded as a modern classic Batman and Superman tale – and hey, at least Bruce wasn’t trying to kill Clark here – but it was really just an above-average story in what has turned into a pretty mediocre run for King. It did, however, make me want a Selina and Lois team-up series by King. That could be a lot of fun.