King’s been doing great work with this series.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Finch’s but he always takes care of business, and the Mann brothers definitely have my attention.

Right off the bat, I’m impressed with how well the two artist team works here.  This is exactly how it should be done; as always, a lion’s share of the credit goes to Jordy Belair, who is a god.  He made the back and forth between this issue’s two scenes feel natural and look great.

Also, right off the bat, I hate how the title page was handled.  The credit boxes looked like dialogue boxes, and there are four different styles of text box (plus a title graphic) on the same page.  I had to stop reading and figure out what was going on, and that’s never a good thing.  I’m all for good title integration, but this took me out of it.

I loved the whole conversation with Gotham Girl.  It was natural and compelling, and it reminded me of why I love Batman in a father figure role.  He damn sure tries, but he’s not actually very good at it.  Half the time, when he’s trying to be helpful, he comes off like a dick.  I particularly loved the moment where he pauses and then repeats Claire’s advice back to her.  That whole page is a perfect merger of writing and art, and I want to buy that original art right now.

Speaking of art, I really feel like the Mann brothers outshone Finch with some truly beautiful layouts.  I found the Gotham Girl/Batman conversation scene more visually compelling than Finch’s “jumping through the city” action scene.

Now on to the elephant in the issue. Batman and Catwoman.  First off, I love that they call each other “Bat” and “Cat.”  It’s adorable.  The proposal moment was handled just fine, and the meat of the issue complemented that moment well.  Who knows if this is for real, but it is something that could be interesting.  Personally, I want a grumpy husband and wife series, with Batman and Catwoman stomping around the mansion, bitching at each other with Damien sarcastically quipping at them from the background.  That’s probably not what we’re going to get; regardless, I’m excited to see where it goes.

Please, no Batcave wedding with every superhero in attendance, and please, no wedding one-off issue.  Sometimes that’s appropriate, but not for these two.

I’ve got to be honest, there’s not much to complain about here.  King seems to get all the voices, and he’s using them in scenarios that feel fresh. Solid art, solid story. I’m in for the long haul; 4 out of 5 stars.

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