Batman #51 Review
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Lee Weeks
Colors by: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Batman heads to court for jury duty in the first story following his wedding issue with Catwoman. While Bruce Wayne is a juror in a murder case involving Mr. Freeze, Dick Grayson returns to wear the cape and cowl.
This issue had a lot of surprising elements to it that made it a breath of fresh air. I was a little let down by the non-wedding between Batman and Catwoman, but Bruce Wayne going to court has sucked me back in. Mr. Freeze is on trial after confessing to murdering three women, a confession that he claims was beaten out of him from a reckless caped crusader. The story reads like a legal drama which is so different than what’s been going on in this run. The mystery of why Bruce decided to be a juror and why Dick Grayson has taken of as Batman starts to make a little more sense as the story goes on. This was a unique take on Gotham City legal proceedings and simply a fantastic issue.
I loved the little moments we have with Bruce in court and Dick Grayson as Batman. The latter felt like a nice callback to Grant Morrison’s Batman run. There’s a conversation that happens on the rooftops that reminded me of the few times people knew they weren’t talking to the original Batman and Robin just from talking. My favorite being from an old annual where The Question started to give unsolicited advice to Dick Grayson on his Batman voice despite never being told it was a different man under the cowl.
Tom King always seems to save the weirder Gotham stories for artist Lee Weeks, and they’re always brilliant. I still feel like their DC/Looney Toons crossover is one of the best single issue Batman stories ever. Weeks’ art is very expressive and is a perfect fit for these emotional and dark stories. Whether it be a noir, romance, or legal drama type story, the artwork is always lovely. Despite past team-ups being more toned down, there are always great action sequences. They could not have picked a better artist for this issue.
I really loved this issue for how different it was. It was expected that Selina backing out of the wedding would have a negative impact on Bruce, but Batman doesn’t even trust himself anymore. With a possible crisis event on the way that deals with the mental health of DC’s heroes, I wonder if Bruce’s pain will stick for a while. I’m also curious to see if we will start to see a different kind of Batman in other series like the Justice League, or if it will be contained to his own.
Either way, this current storyline has gotten off to a great start. With an interesting story and gorgeous artwork, I can’t wait for the next issue.