Ten Thoughts About Batman #50

Thursday, July 05, 2018


Spoilers follow for Tom King's Batman #50 ...

1. I knew it! I've been saying for for months that I bet this whole wedding thing was a villainous scheme, and turns out I was right. My track record on this kind of thing is particularly bad, so I'm overly impressed with myself about this.

2. Bravo to Tom King for a story that completely turns on its head the entire fifty issues that came before. I mean, between Gotham Girl, the Flashpoint Batman Thomas Wayne, and Skeets, there's almost no part of King's last forty-nine issues that that last panel doesn't totally revamp.

3) As you know I switched to singles for the issues that'll eventually make up Batman Vol. 7: The Wedding so as not to have Batman #50 spoiled for me (and I'm equally proud of the fact that I did manage to avoid the spoilers, thank you very much). To that end, to make up a little time, I started to jot down some review ideas for that book based on Batman #45-49 ... which I then had to almost entirely throw away once I read Batman #50, so completely did the fiftieth issue change my understanding of and perspective on those issues. Almost 750 words, kaput. See #2; this is not a little thing Tom King pulled off here.

4. People are mad, I know, because they feel DC promised a wedding and did not deliver a wedding. I wonder particularly about the title at the top of the cover, which says "The Wedding." But then, I don't know, thinking about title vernacular, like there was an episode of Agents of SHIELD this past season called "The Honeymoon" that was not actually about a honeymoon; rather, considering the title after the fact, there's an implication that the title means "A Question of the Honeymoon" or "About the Honeymoon." Possibly we could interpret "The Wedding" as "What Happened When They Got Ready for the Wedding" or "On the Day of the Wedding ..." (I know, I know, that doesn't mitigate six "Prelude to the Wedding" specials, I know.)

5. That said, if your money wasn't well spent on that Bruce/Alfred scene, I can't help you.

6. Someone out there just said, "... and Bruce couldn't even get off his phone!" Dear reader, if the grand conspiracy just revealed has taught us nothing, let it cause us to pause long enough at least to wonder, what is Bruce doing on his phone that's so important?

7. I don't for a second believe Bane is the mastermind here.

8. Bane has got both Skeets and the Flashpoint Batman Thomas Wayne in his arsenal. Is it more likely that Bane is so clever as to have caused Skeets to cause Booster Gold to create an alternate timeline where the Waynes weren't killed just so Booster could reverse that timeline so that he could then go tell Batman and Catwoman about it and that Bane can trick out Flash's cosmic treadmill to cause both Batman and the Flash to see a specific vision of Flashpoint all just to influence Catwoman to leave Batman -- or could it be (cue Dana Carvey's Church Lady) Dr. Manhattan?

9. If Batman #50 is not Batman and Catwoman's wedding but is a low-key Rebirth/Watchmen/Doomsday Clock tie-in, will that help soothe some of the upset over the early spoilers?

10. Why aren't we talking more about the fact that King's Batman #50 brought his Batman/Elmer Fudd special into continuity? I think the DC Trade Paperback Timeline just exploded. And if the Porky Pig in King's special isn't the same as in the forthcoming Lex Luthor/Porky Pig special, are we headed for Crisis on Infinite Looney Tunes?

That's all, folks!
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13 comments:

  1. Can you explain #9? I've read the issue but not the preceding singles. How does it tie in to Rebirth?

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    1. I think CE was talking about the possibility that Dr. Manhattan is the mastermind behind everything.

      As someone who wasn't expecting the wedding to happen, especially after looking at the solicitation copy for issues #51-55, I was only surprised by the last page of #50. I sure hope the answer to everything that has happened since the beginning of King's run makes more sense than Bane somehow manipulating Skeets and Flashpoint Batman.

      Other than that, can't complain about the issue quality-wise. Maybe fans would be less upset if DC hadn't hyped it up with a prelude mini, dozens of variant covers and midnight release parties.

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    2. @TNT Yeah, that was an "if #8, then #9" kind of thing. If it's Dr. Manhattan, then this is an under-hyped Rebirth tie-in, no less important than Oz Effect or Lonely Place of Living, making it significant if not for the reason people thought.

      @shagmu For me, I'm a Batman reader. I'd have bought issue #50 (in trade) regardless. So I'm not so thrown that a comic surprised me -- far from it. (Heck let's do away with single issue solicitation descriptions entirely!) To each their own but I almost never buy variants, etc. It seems to me the trouble comes in when comics stops being about a couple minutes of reading an escapist story.

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  2. The twist at the end didn't quite hit for me - by showing all the villains there rather than just Bane, my reaction went from "Man, Bane got him good!" to, "Flashpoint Batman, that doesn't make sense at all." (Ditto with Skeets, Gotham Girl, and maybe the Joker).

    Does anyone want to do some plot and time travel mechanics on whether the Skeets who got shot at the end of the Booster arc (a) died or (b) would have ceased to exist when the second Booster didn't save the Waynes? My read on that scene is that the Booster who experienced the alt-timeline lived but his Skeets died, and the Booster that appeared at the end died but his Skeets survived.

    I don't think it'll make sense if Bane isn't the mastermind (I also don't think it'll make sense if he is, but whatever). If it's Manhattan, the big villain will be someone whose hand appeared in one panel in an issue that wasn't authored by Tom King. I suppose you could make the argument that Riddler could be manipulating everyone (see the conclusion to The War of Jokes and Riddles) would be playing fair, but no one else would really work as part of the narrative.

    As a side note, if the entire 50 issues so far are all an elaborate plot by Bane to break Batman that Batman didn't see coming, we're going to have to take his World's Greatest Detective moniker away. He missed Bane's plot, the League of Shadows, The Court of Owls, and The Black Glove coming. And whatever the plot was in Batman Eternal. Is Peter Tomasi the only Batman writer of note and length-of-run who hasn't had Bruce almost toppled by a conspiracy he didn't see coming until almost too late?

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    1. Grant Morrison didn't, partially. Grant had Batman at least ahead of Dr. Hurt, what with backup personalities and such.

      That Alfred scene will make it or break it for me. Batman Bruce Wayne is piddling away on his phone? Nuh-uh. Batman is three steps ahead of everyone on this one or bust.

      That Psycho Pirate's mask, that Batman got via Bane, sparked the Comedian's button to show the first vision of Thomas Wayne seems significant to me. Surely that kind of firepower can only be Manhattan's?

      And how does Heroes in Crisis fit in? Stars Booster, right, and involves Psycho Pirate's mask? Dare I say, "it's all connected"?

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    2. Well, I'd argue the Zur En Arr personality was a general "Batman is always prepared" defense rather than he was particularly prepared for Dr. Hurt (although I think the narrative is not entirely clear on that). He also didn't know about the experiments that created the Three Batman (he thought it'd been a fever dream). He did seem to be on top of the general idea someone was coming for him (switching the poison on the monk, knowing Jezebel was a plant). Heck, he got duped by Barbatos, too, into letting the Dark Universe in (he did show up to the fight with a weaponized baby, though, so he was mostly prepared).

      Like I said, if Batman didn't see it coming w/Bane. He might be ahead of the game here (in which case one would assume Selina is in on it). That flies in the face of Tom King's stated purpose for the next part of his run (I'm not bothered if he's dissembling to avoid spoiling something, but I think there's a subset of fans for whom that will be too much), though, if Bruce and Selina faked the break-up.

      You and I might be the two biggest fans of the pre-IC everything is connected era, so I get where your hope is coming from, but (a) I don't think The Button, Lonely Place of Living, or Oz Effect actually explicated anything interesting about Doomsday Clock or Dr Manhattan's plans and (b) I'm pretty sure DC would be making a bigger deal about Tom King's run tying into Doomsday Clock if it did (Dan Didio, et al. can't help themselves - they spoiled 52 9(?) weeks early, they hyped up the three big Rebirth tie-in stories mentioned above, they way oversold the wedding, etc., etc.).

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    3. Maybe (definitely) I'm reaching. It's not indeed like the hype machine not to spell everything out for us, but one likes to believe the best, don't they? But still, let's say Bane's got Gotham Girl. Bane uses Gotham Girl to make Batman come get Psycho Pirate's mask. The Psycho Pirate's mask generates a vision of Thomas Wayne. Then ... well, I just can't get around that it gets above Bane's pay grade from there.

      Good on Tom King, at least, making us think this much.

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    4. @Bob:What did King say was the purpose for the next part of his run?

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    5. He said one of the things he wanted to explore was Batman dealing with being left at the altar - my point was if Batman and Catwoman faked their break up, he would only be doing that as performance art to keep Bane from knowing he was doing it (side note: it's hard to be brief or simple when describing wheels within wheels conspiracy theories).

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  3. How did issue 50 bring the Elmer Fudd crossover into continuity? I read the issue but must have missed that? Loved your review! I personally thought this issue was amazing! I really don't get the hate this issue is getting online. You would think that this is the first time a story had a twist ending. Weird!

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    1. Porky's Bar, where Batman picked up Judge Wolfman. Which is itself an interesting name -- call-out to Marv or something else?

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  4. Actually, Batman Annual #2 brought Porky's Bar into continuity.

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    1. Oops -- you're right. And I've even read that trade already!

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