BATMAN #68 Review

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SYNOPSIS: Batman is making his way to the end of his Knightmares, but his unseen enemy has a few more tricks up his sleeve. It’s time once again to stick a knife into the Caped Crusader’s broken heart, letting the groom-that-could-have-been peer in on the bachelorette (or should that be “Catchelorette”?) party that never was. Artist Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn) rejoins the Bat-family for this month’s special story—because who else you gonna invite to a shindig like this?

The “Knightmares” continue in BATMAN #68 and I remain in utter awe of this arc.

Writer Tom King has crafted chapter after weird, wild chapter of fractured mind puzzles for Bruce Wayne to navigate, creating showcases for a fabulous variety of stellar art teams to stretch their muscles and strut their stuff. I can’t wait to get these in a collected edition; it’s one I’ll be gifting to friends for years to come.

This sixth installment is a powerhouse punch of humor and heart as Lois Lane throws Selina Kyle a bachelorette party in the Fortress of Solitude (don’t tell Clark!), while Clark and Bruce have a bachelor party at the ultimate bachelor pad (Wayne Manor) with the ultimate chaperone (Alfred Pennyworth).

The girls sample all sorts of interesting intergalactic experiences; the boys sip soup. Selina wonders if Lois is really her friend; Bruce and Clark wonder if Gotham City and the Milky Way will be okay if they take a night off. No one at either soirée has anything to worry about, but King delivers real emotions and creates lovely character moments in the conversations. My favorite bits are Selina’s asking Lois how she contacts Clark and Clark’s attempting to talk to Bruce about Finnish artists in a scene that would make the King of the Wicker People proud.

Amanda Conner’s expressive faces and exaggerated postures perfectly portray all of the fun and every feeling that Selina and Lois are having in the Fortress. There’s an entire page that’s a dozen panels of various wines from outer space being poured, and every wine bottle, goblet, and liquid is unique. (King’s names for the wines are fun, too.) I can’t imagine anyone but Conner drawing this; her work is so energetic and exciting.

Dan Panosian and John Timms also contribute artwork; colors are by Timms, Paul Mounts, and Jordie Bellaire. The issue’s credits don’t break down who did what, so I’ll just thank them all for making this yet another example of why BATMAN is always one of the best-looking books on the market.

There’s one other artist, too, but it’s a secret. Because as fun as this issue is, there’s a moment where the illusion starts to break and another where we get a huge clue about what these “Knightmares” really are.

On so many levels, this one’s not to be missed! – John Bierly

GRADE: A+