Chapter II: Up On The House Top
Phantasm has come to Gotham City! Andrea Beaumont, the one-time love of Bruce Wayne, is looking for her lost child, and she’s pretty sure The Joker is involved. So, who better to have as an ally than Batman? And what better way to get to Batman than through Catwoman? It’s a knotted history for this costumed quartet, spanning past, present, and future. What The Joker did to Selina Kyle at the beginning of her career will have deadly consequences at the end of their lives. Tom King’s ultimate tale of the Dark Knight kicks into high gear as the story roars down the avenues only hinted at in the pages of Batman.DCCOMICS.COM official solicitation
Tom King definitely gives you value for money if you are prepared to put the work in. There are no wasted panels in his stories and no throw away dialogue. This now Black Label continuation of his Batman run bounces between three time periods without caption boxes so you better be paying attention.
Batman may be the title character but this is playing out as Catwoman and Joker tale. In the past Jimmy the Lion is dead and the Joker is the suspect but somehow Catwoman has his medallion. In the present the Phantasm has returned to Gotham and is offing Joker henchmen all over town. In the future Batman is dead and Catwoman has tracked down an elderly Joker.
King is giving us three versions of the Joker. We get the the gimmicky clown, the mob boss, and the frail old man. The backbone of this tale seems to be in the the now part of the story with the mob boss. He is being hunted and comes to Batman for help. How far will Bruce go to protect his arch-enemy, especially when it is his former lover Andrea Beaumont who is out for blood? Loyalties are going to be tested.
The Bat and Cat relationship will undoubtedly be the key to everything. How much does Selina know and is she lying to Bruce? The Joker clearly has some control over her to the point she feels even Bruce can’t help her escape his grasp. But there is clearly a massive loyalty to Bruce and his mission and it is not until Bruce has died that she feels she can put an end to the Joker.
Having been the main Bat writer for around 4 years Tom King is pulling in references from everything that he has done. We even get a Porky Pig cameo from the one-shot where he was a Gotham bartender. If this is King’s last hurrah on the character I expect by the end of the series he will have tied up loose end he had. Hopefully we will get Kite-Man and Batman in a bar at some point.
King is a Marmite writer (you either love him or you hate him) but I can’t get enough of this. I don’t know what is happening and I can’t wait for the next issues.